CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – As the injuries and losses have mounted through the first 5 weeks, the Browns certainly aren’t acting or talking like a team left for dead.
The Browns travel to Tennessee Sunday where the 2-3 Titans await in search of win No. 1 in the Hue Jackson era, which if you listen to veteran receiver Andrew Hawkins – or any player within the locker room for that matter – is going to come sooner rather than later.
In an interview with Andrew Gribble of ClevelandBrowns.com and the Browns Radio Network that aired Sunday morning Hawkins made it clear that although they are winless, they don’t feel or act like it.
“The record doesn’t indicate where this team really is at, even judging from last year,” Hawkins said. “I would take this team 10 times out of 10 over last year. The coaches are doing an incredible job, the players are working. We have young guys and it’s not an excuse. As experience comes, guys get more comfortable. That’s just what we’re waiting on. Every week is an opportunity and we’re just chasing that first victory.”
Last year the Browns, devoid of leadership, limped to the 3-13 finish line by losing 10 of their last 11. Hawkins and the few veterans that remain have taken it upon themselves to keep the young locker room engaged and believing.
“It’s easy to get frustrated when you don’t have any wins,” Hawkins said. “Just like I’m telling you, I tell them. I say look, this is a good football team, this is a talented football team. When it comes, the wins are going to come in droves. We’ve just got to keep the course and do as coach asks. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when.”
Hawkins is in his sixth NFL season, third with the Browns and he has 12 catches for 126 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown reception on the team’s opening offensive drive last week against New England while mentoring a receiving corps that includes 4 rookies.
“I just try to tell them I’ve been where football wasn’t an option,” Hawkins said.. I didn’t have the opportunity to go practice, the opportunity to go play, the opportunity to be on a football team. That is a lonely feeling. That’s a terrible feeling to want something so bad that you have no control over getting. Me trying to tell them that, they kind of look at my story and they respect me and the way I go about things. They have so much more talent than I had at their age. If they go about it that way, the sky is really the limit for them.”
The last time the Browns traveled to Tennessee, they authored the greatest comeback on the road in NFL history. After training 28-3, they rallied to pull off a 29-28 victory.
“I think that team mirrors this team a lot in the way that they fight,” Hawkins says. “We went down and guys didn’t blink an eye. Take it a play at a time, a series at a time, a quarter at a time and slowly fought our way back. That’s something this team has done all year. We haven’t had an opportunity to end on the winning side of things but that spirit is still with this football team. If we can have that fight from the start, the sky is the limit for what we can do.”