Browns TE David Njoku Sends Strong Message to Ravens

Getty Images David Njoku of the Cleveland Browns.

David Njoku will play a larger role on Monday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens with Austin Hooper out and the Cleveland Browns tight end is ready for the spotlight.

Njoku sent a firm message on Twitter Monday prior to the game, sending out a tweet that read, “Time to scrap,” with a lion emoji.

In many ways, the 9-3 Browns are now the “lions” hunting the 7-5 Ravens, with the potential to deliver a big blow to their AFC North rival with a win on Monday.

David Njoku Will Play Larger Role With Austin Hooper Out

GettyDavid Njoku of the Cleveland Browns.

It’s been an interesting season for Njoku, a former first-round pick of the Browns. He demanded a trade before training camp, but ended up staying in Cleveland with the team refusing to deal him. His name popped up in multiple trade rumors before the deadline, but again, he stayed put in orange and brown.

Njoku is the third tight end listed on the Browns depth chart when everyone is healthy, but he’s still been able to contribute, with Kevin Stefanski using multiple tight end sets. Njoku has nine grabs this season for 107 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Njoku and rookie Harrison Bryant will pick up the slack against the Ravens in a primetime matchup Monday, with Hooper out with a neck injury he suffered late in the week. Bryant has caught 16 balls for 164 yards and a trio of touchdowns.

David Njoku Valued in Browns Offense

GettyDavid Njoku of the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns have been very complimentary of Njoku and their desire to keep him on the roster speaks to that. New general manager Andrew Berry also decided to pick up Njoku’s fifth-year option, keeping him with the team until 2022.

“We have been very consistent that we think David can be a big part of where we’re trying to go as a team this year and that we think he has an important role to play for this roster and for this team,” Berry told reporters before the season started. “We’re looking forward to working with David. I think he can have a fantastic year.”

Njoku certainly has the potential to be a contributor. Njoku — the 29th overall pick in the 2017 draft — is a physical specimen at 6-foot-4, 246 pounds with 4.6 40-yard dash speed. In his second season, Njoku essentially doubled his production from his rookie year, collecting 56 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns. However, the Miami-product stumbled last season with a broken wrist and a bad relationship with the coaching staff. He had just five catches for 41 yards and one touchdown in Year 3 and was a healthy scratch down the stretch.

Browns Ready for Redemption Against Ravens

Getty ImagesJarvis Landry of the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns have looked all the part of a contender outside of a pair of blowout losses to the Steelers and Ravens, the latter coming in the season-opener. A win on Sunday by Cleveland would be a major blow to Baltimore’s playoff hopes and keep the Browns alive in the race for the AFC North crown with the Steelers losing two in a row.

The opportunity is something the Browns relish.

“If you go back to when the season first, obviously, they deserve the credit, but in a lot of ways, we did a lot of things that cost us the game from turnovers to penalties, and we went for it on our first punt [with a failed] fake punt,” wide receiver Jarvis Landry said of the Browns 38-6 loss in Week 1. “We gave them more chances than we should have. As the year went on, I think we have grown past those points. We [have] 20 takeaways from the defensive standpoint, and I do not think we have turned the ball over [more than once] in the last five or six weeks so that is high priority for us. We want to keep it that way.”

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