The last year has been a rollercoaster for Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku, and the ride doesn’t look like it will be stopping anytime soon, especially after some recent comments from the former first-round pick.
Njoku was asked about coming back to the Browns next season on The Jim Rome Show on Friday and was fairly cryptic with his response, leaving the door open for more drama this offseason.
“That’s a good question,” Njoku told Rome. “I’m not going to answer that right now. I have no comment towards that at this moment. I’m just going to enjoy my family, my friends, and my loves ones. I have couple of projects happening in the near future, so I’m just focused on the right now and I’ll let everything handle itself in the near future.”
David Njoku Was ‘Confused’ by Browns Offseason Moves
Njoku — a former first-round pick of the Browns in 2017 — requested a trade last offseason when it became apparent he’d have to battle for reps, sitting behind both Austin Hooper and rookie Harrison Bryant on the depth chart. That was not ideal for Njoku, who had his fifth-year option picked up by the Browns prior to the season.
“We acquired both of them and at first it put me in an interesting position,” Njoku told Rome. “I was confused because the Browns picked up my fifth-year option and they got all of these other tight ends. At the same time, I’ve been hearing that Kevin Stefanski’s offense is very tight-end oriented. So I was optimistic about everything. I was excited to get back to work. With a couple of complications obviously here and there throughout the season, it put me in a predicament where I had nothing to do but just put my head down and work.”
Despite the internal competition, Njoku said he had a very good relationship with both Hooper and Bryant.
“Austin is one of my best friends right now,” Njoku said. “Just this past few months that we’ve hung out, that guy and I, we’ve been through a lot and we’ve trained together a lot. That’s someone who I call a real close friend of mine. Harrison as well. He’s very, very innocent dude, just got drafted, he has his whole life ahead of him. I’m very excited to see how his career plays out. He’s a phenomenal athlete. Those two guys I have much respect for.”
David Njoku Says He Was Not on ‘Same Page’ as Browns
Njoku missed a trio of games with a knee injury, but still managed to find the field quite a bit in the Browns’ tight-end heavy system. He routinely played over 50 percent of the snaps, finishing the year catching 19 balls for 213 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Njoku added 5 catches for 66 yards in the postseason.
While Njoku dropped his trade request prior to the season, he wanted out before the trade deadline, per Cleveland.com. However, that never happened.
“We weren’t really on the same page, the Browns and I,” Njoku said. “We were trying to figure things out, trying to make sure both parties were happy and it was very complicated. This game is very political. Obviously, if it was just X’s and O’s and straight football, it would be a lot clearer. But there are complications and there are gray areas things happen and it’s tough. And it’s also tough to pick yourself up when things aren’t really going your way.”
We’ll see how the Browns handle Njoku this offseason. He’s due $6 million this season, but it’s not guaranteed until March 17, per Cleveland.com.