Browns General Manager Andrew Berry wasn’t expecting it when tight end David Njoku asked to be traded last month.
But now that Njoku is back in the boat, Berry said he’s excited about the possibilities for the former first-rounder.
“I will be honest, yes, a little bit,’’ Berry said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I guess you learn not to be surprised about anything. He communicated well through it. He worked through it professionally. We had good communication with his representation. We think we are in a pretty good place right now.”
Njoku has since declared himself “all Cleveland,” in saying last Saturday the request was off.
It might have been natural for him to have suspicions about his role this year, since the Browns spent big free agent money on tight end Austin Hooper. But with new coach Kevin Stefanski promising a lot of two-tight end sets, there should still be chances for Njoku.
“What I can tell you with David, really even since the spring and definitely since he’s been back, he’s been very engaged with our coaching staff and our performance staff,’’ Berry said. “He’s shown up in terrific shape. I do think that there’s an element with getting back around your teammates, your coaches and the excitement of training camp. 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. We’re looking forward to working with David. I think he can have a fantastic year.”
The 2017 first-rounder was limited to just four games last year because of a broken wrist, but had 56 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns the year before. Those numbers might not be within reach with Hooper around, but the Browns apparently convinced him he’d still be invovled.