Ogbo Okoronkwo Sets Record Straight on Wanting Out of Browns Organization

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

Getty Cleveland Browns defensive end Ogbo Okoronkwo.

Cleveland Browns defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo assured the fan base Wednesday that he is not looking for a way out of Northeast Ohio just one year after joining the organization.

The misunderstanding came about via social media on the morning of Wednesday, January 17, with an X post from Okoronkwo.

“The universe got a funny way of showing what’s for/not for you,” he wrote at 9:24 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

By just past noon in Cleveland, X users had viewed the post 33,500 times.

Around 90 minutes after issuing the ambiguous message, which some took to mean that Okoronkwo was displeased with his professional situation in Cleveland, the defensive end got back online and cleared up that misinterpretation.

“I guess that last tweet was misleading,” Okoronkwo posted just after 11 a.m. local time. “God willing I retire a Brown! 😂”

A responder asked the Cleveland pass-rusher how he was doing in the comment section, to which Okoronkwo replied, “Okay, wish I was playing this weekend though.”

The Houston Texans bounced the Browns from the playoffs last Saturday by a score of 45-14, ending Okoronkwo’s first season with the franchise.

Ogbo Okoronkwo Was Solid Rotational Pass-Rusher in First Season with Browns

Ogbo Okoronkwo, Browns

GettyDefensive end Ogbo Okoronkwo #54 of the Cleveland Browns.

Okoronkwo was among the Browns’ biggest offseason splashes in 2023, as the team signed him away from the Texans following a career year for the outside linebacker turned defensive end.

He tallied 11 QB hits, 9 tackles for loss, 5 sacks and 2 pass breakups across 17 games (8 starts) in Houston the year prior, per Pro Football Reference, which earned him a three-year deal worth $19 million total from Cleveland last March. Okoronkwo followed up that effort with 12 tackles for loss, 8 QB hits, 4.5 sacks and 1 pass breakup for the Browns in 2023, despite playing in only 14 games with zero starts.

Okoronkwo suffered a pectoral injury in Week 14 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which the team initially expected to sideline him for the year. However, he fought his way back into the rotation and appeared in Cleveland’s final contest of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals four weeks later.

“I would say it was like mountains and valleys because … I was super sad, and I was preparing for my next couple of months. And then, all of a sudden, there was a glimmer of hope,” Okoronkwo told Camryn Justice of WEWS Cleveland on January 4. “I’m happy where I’m at right now. … It felt good being around my guys, lifts my spirit.”

Ogbo Okoronkwo Could Play Bigger Role on Browns Defense in 2024

Cleveland Browns DE Ogbo Okoronkwo will likely miss the rest of the season with an injury.

GettyCleveland Browns defensive end Ogbo Okoronkwo (left) and pass-rusher Myles Garrett (right) celebrate a play during an NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers in October 2023.

The main reasons Okoronkwo didn’t start any games for Cleveland’s defense in 2023 were All-Pro Myles Garrett and three-time Pro Bowler Za’Darius Smith.

The Browns traded with the Minnesota Vikings to acquire Smith last offseason, then reworked his contract for 2023. However, that deal is now up and Smith will officially become a free agent on March 15. He is likely to seek a multiyear deal, which may not make sense in Cleveland.

As of Wednesday, the Browns were nearly $14 million in the red on their 2024 salary cap sheet and still have roster holes to fill, including a big one behind Amari Cooper in the wide receiver room. Smith tallied only 5.5 sacks in 16 starts in 2023 and will turn 32 just as the upcoming season begins.

If Smith departs, which currently appears more likely than not, the Browns may ask Okoronkwo to step into a starting role.

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