What the Browns had to say after the game


Game action as the Steelers traveled to FirstEnergy Stadium to take on the Browns in Week 17.

Opening statement:
"The only injury of note, and it's unfortunate because it's potentially a serious one, is (WR Taylor) Gabriel has a fractured orbital socket. He's in the hospital. It's something that – we don't know at this point – could potentially require surgery.

"Again, another frustrating one, kind of the story of the season. Outmanned and we fought our tails off and found a way to be down five in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, it unraveled for us late turning the ball over. As I told the guys afterwards, I couldn't be more proud of the effort. A week with just so much going on, just all of the negativity swirling around it, just all of the stuff that was out there, for our guys to stay focused, great test of their mental toughness. I thought coaches hung in there and coached their butts off, and we saw the effort we got from the guys that were out there. Again, I couldn't be more proud of it, and for the men in that room, they deserve better. They deserve better than three wins and that's on all of us. Tough way to end it but just frustrating. Frustrating for them because I see how much they put into it, how much goes into it and to not have the success is hard to watch."

On if he has been told anything about his job security:
"No. Have not."

On what he would say to make a case to keep his job:
"I'm not into pleading. It's something that's what gets put out there, how we attack work every day, the players. That to me is the resume: how hard the guys play, the effort that goes in, how hard we practice, what we do in meeting time, walkthrough, out on the practice field, how that carries over to the game field. I feel like we've done a lot of good things, but I'm the first one to tell you – you've heard me say it a million times – this is a pass/fail league, and the results aren't there. Nobody wants to hear it takes time. Nobody wants to hear it's a process, but that's the situation that we're in. I feel there's a good, young nucleus here. You don't have to look any further than this past draft class. Especially as the year went on, a lot of those guys playing at a high level. Again, I'm a 'what you see is what you get' kind of guy. As I've said earlier in the week or the least two weeks, I love it here, passionate about football, passionate about the Cleveland Browns. I love the city. I think these are some of the best fans in the league, if not the best, and they deserve it. If it does go the wrong way for me, that's my biggest regret is not being able to deliver for these fans that have suffered for a long time."

On reports that he asked Owner Jimmy Haslam about his job status on Friday and that he was not given an answer:
"Yeah, that [report] is not correct."

On if he spoke to Haslam on Friday:

On if QB Johnny Manziel was in Las Vegas Saturday night:
"I don't know. I wasn't (laughter). To me, when guys are – we have a protocol for them if they're inactive. I don't have all of the information on that yet, but my biggest concern was the guys that we're going to be out there today getting prepared for the Steelers."

On if Manziel was required to be at today's game:
"The guys in the concussion protocol are not [required]. They can be in the stadium, but they're not required. They're not permitted to be on the sideline."

On if players in concussion protocol are permitted to travel with the team:
"I don't know what the league rule is but our policy is we do not travel ours. The guys that had concussions when we went to Kansas City did not come with us."

On if players in concussion protocol are permitted to travel at all:
"That I don't know. I have to get with (head athletic trainer) Joe Sheehan. This is the first I've heard of an example like this."

On reports that he guaranteed Browns players a win at Kansas City and also mentioned he might get fired due to players' lack of effort:
"Wow, that would be 0-for-2. People that know me and know how I am, that would be grossly out of character for me to guarantee a win and call our guys out for their effort to save my own job. That's just about the polar opposite of who I am."

On what his reaction would be if it were confirmed that Manziel was in Las Vegas yesterday:
"Let me gather the information on it. It would be disappointing. I'll leave it at that: disappointing."

On if he has plans to meet with Haslam tonight:
"I don't, but I'm sure – end of year meeting always comes very quickly. It could be tonight. I'm going to go back to the office so it could be tonight, could be tomorrow."

On if he would like to meet with Haslam to discuss his job tonight:
"Yeah, I just think for the sake of the staff. That, to me, is my priority. I have a responsibility to 20-plus families that would like to know our status."

On if it is a team rule not to travel players in the concussion protocol:
"That I'm not sure. I just know we don't travel. I don't know whether that's part of the league's policy. I'd have to follow up with that with Joe Sheehan."

On if Manziel was sent home from a QB meeting this week due to inebriation:
"No. No. No, that is not the case."

On if he is aware of reports that his job and General Manager Ray Farmer's jobs are in jeopardy:
"I am aware of it. I just know a lot of stuff gets floated out there. As I have said before, it should be a topic of speculation, given what our results have been. It is a bottom line business and you guys don't have a column in the newspaper for moral victories. Our record is that we have won three of our last 20-21 games. That is just not good enough."

On WR Terrelle Pryor's development and if he took a step forward today:
"He did, and that is why it was good to get him on the roster and get him playing. I think the big play that he made is indicative of what he is capable of. There is a lot of work that needs to put in there to get him polished. It is obvious that he possess this skillset and he needs to play. That's why I think a good offseason, OTAs and minicamps and a full training camp – I wouldn't bet against him making it as a wide out. That is hard to do. We talked about it way back when, but he certainly possesses the mentality and the skillset."

On if he said goodbye to the players when he broke down the team:
"I didn't say goodbye. I went around and saw some of the players. That is more of an end of the season type thing. Hopefully, regardless, we will be in the building tomorrow and we have a team meeting. I'll get a chance to talk to guys then, whether it is either direction."

On if he feels like he will not return as head coach because Haslam did not give him a 'vote of confidence' as other coaches have received in the past week:
"No, I don't have a feeling. I was dead focused on the Steelers this week. Now that it is over, I am going to at some point tonight have an adult beverage of my choice and see where it goes. I just don't get wrapped up into that. As I said, we preach to our players, control what you can control. Worry about the things you have control over. Staff wise, we are in that same boat."

On what he is proud of this season:
"I am proud of when you watch us play, if you didn't see the scoreboard, you don't see our guys quitting. That to me is one of the things I am most proud of. You know that is when guys have bought in to what you are doing. The professionalism, the competitiveness – when you fill your roster and you get more of those guys and fill your roster with those guys, you are going to be successful. Despite the tough times that we went through with the losses, I am proud of how our guys showed up every day and their approach, and I can't tell you how proud I am of the coaching staff. Offensively, what we were able to accomplish this year – threw for over 4,000 yards and rushed for over 1,500. I think that is only the fourth team in Browns history to do that. Defensively, it was tough. Battling injuries and lineup changes, we had our struggles. I am proud of that staff. I am proud of those guys. They showed up to work every day and left no stone unturned and went out to the practice field and tried to get it taught. Unfortunately, we came up short."​

On how difficult it is to be successful in the NFL when your starting QB is completely unreliable and a 'mess':
"I see where you are going. (Manziel's) issues have been well documented. You say, mess. Can I say, work in progress? If you look at our season and what I just said, we have gotten great production and some damn good leadership from that room. That started with the signing of (QB) Josh McCown. He has been outstanding. He was our starter. He got hurt, Johnny stepped in and I thought (QB) Austin (Davis) did some good things, too, under some tough circumstances. I get it, but I am not going to sit here and use an excuse that just because we drafted a quarterback high and he is maybe not where he ideally should be that it was the downfall of what happened here or that was the reason."


On missed opportunities to score in today's game:
"Yeah, I feel like that was probably the difference for us on offense, just not able to get the ball in the end zone for whatever reason. Playing a team like Pittsburgh, a playoff football team, a very good team, we have to get the ball in the end zone and can't settle for that many field goals. At the end of the day, we were still in it at the end and had a chance. That's what we wanted to do."

On Steelers LB William Gay's interception:
"It was just a bad decision, bad throw. That's all on me. He undercut it. He made a good play on it, honestly. I think the only thing I could do there was just move around a little bit, scramble drill and see if someone gets open in the end zone, but that was just a bad play on my part."

On if he expected the intense pressure of the Steelers defense:
"We felt like just looking at their pressure packages that they've had all year that that's something they would get to, and they were having success with it. Whenever a team's having success bringing pressure and you're not being able to get behind them and make big plays, you have to expect it to keep coming. I thought we got better as the game went, picking some stuff up and moving the ball down the field."

On the feeling in the locker room with the rumors surrounding the team:
"It is tough because regardless of how a season goes, you spend a lot of time with the guys in the locker room and you almost become like family. That group will never be together again, that specific group. No, the season didn't go the way we wanted. We didn't win games like we wanted to. You have a lot of good friendships and a lot of good brothers in there that you build relationships with. That is the tough part about this business, whether it is the coaching staff or whether it is the players, we are all well aware that there will probably be a lot of changes going into next year. Every one of those guys will all bounce back wherever they land or if they are back with Cleveland, they will be ready to go next year."

On reports that QB Johnny Manziel was in Las Vegas last night:
"I did not hear that report. I am not going to comment on that."

On if he could imagine trying to transition to WR as WR Terrelle Pryor has and if he views Pryor solely as a WR now:
"When you are in the game, you just play ball. Terrelle has a big body and can box out corners and make plays in traffic. Anytime you get a man pressure or something, you just put a ball up for him, and obviously, he made the big play down the sideline and made some other good plays for us. He has a chance to be a really good receiver. Just like anything else, it takes time; it takes reps. I thought he got better as the year went along. He came back and did a nice job."

On how difficult coaching changes are on a team:
"You can't put your finger on one thing, but anytime you have a tough year like we have had, there is going to be changes and everyone is well aware of that. That is no secret. No specifics. Who knows? Who knows what will happen? You just have to come back next year ready to roll." ​

On playing different positions this season compared to his college career:
"I just finished my first year as a professional. Anything I did in college is irrelevant now. I'm here now and I'm in the system."

On the offensive system and HC Mike Pettine this season:
"This staff and this organization have brought me in and they've shown me nothing but the utmost respect. I have developed a relationship with Coach Pettine and I respect the man. Any speculations that are circling I can't really comment on because that's not really my place."

On what he has taken away from most recent starts:
"Some valuable game experience, against guys that I want to be playing against every year. I take something from every time I go out on the field. I try to go out and capitalize on opportunities and minimize mistakes."

On winning at the highest level in college to having a 3-13 season in the pros:
"Definitely makes you appreciate the time that you had when you were in college, but it's also gives you a hunger. That's what I'm going into this next offseason with is a hunger to come back next year and not let this happen again. Not just me, myself, but this team as a whole, we have to create a culture."


On playing with rumors surrounding the team:
"I'll be the first one to say that it is tough. It's tough to not know if the coach that was sitting with you through all of the meetings is going to be with you next year. Starting over from scratch, as a player, with the season that it has been already, it is tough to tune that type of stuff out and say that I'm focused on the game, but as proffesionals, that is what we have to do."

On Head Coach Mike Pettine's postgame speech to the team:
"He told us that this was a good football team that we went up against. It was mostly talking about the football side, but everyone who talked after the game-(DB) Donte (Whitner), (LB Karlos) Dansby a lot of the guys were emotional because this locker room will never be the same. We don't know who is going to be here, both coaches and players. I think that is the whole message. Keep fighting and learn from the things that we went through. He didn't give anything that was deeply rooted from his feelings. It s more so just his perspective."

On if he is shocked about the teams record after last year:
"I guess you could say I'm shocked. We have every guy that we need at every position. We got production out of guys you wouldn't think of like (TE Gary) Barnidge and (WR) Travis (Benjamin). That is all we can ask for. I would say the brunt of the load came from the defense with it being just injuries or playing out of scheme. I feel like we let a lot of people down this year. We have no excuses. We are professional athletes, through injuries, through just playing out of position, that type of stuff is just business. I would say definetly I am shocked. We went from a team that could have gone to the playoffs last year to a team that was so far from sniffing the playoffs this year. It is frustrating."

On not being able to score a touchdown after driving down the field:
"It's frustrating. However, we did show a lot in the drives and we were able to at least get something out of it and not turn the ball over."

On if his play this season opened some eyes:
"I'm hoping. Any time that I can get teams to use their time game planning for me just helps the offense as a whole."

On the overall experience as a rookie in the NFL:
"It is about what I expected. From what I was told, football is football."

On the environment leading up to this game:
"I'm used to it. I went to college and I experienced things that were a lot worse than this. I'm just focusing on football."

On Head Coach Mike Pettine:
"He's a great coach. Obviously, I haven't been here the whole year, but every time I've been in the meeting room, his team meetings, he was a great coach. He gave me an opportunity that I can do nothing but give him grace and thank him."

On his future with the Browns:
"It's like life. You don't know what the next step is. You just have an image in your head and you go about your business. That's what I do everyday, just work harder than the next man, try and work harder than everybody else and just push forward."

On changes in the locker room since preseason and now:
"It's still the same. We battle every team. Look at all these games we've been playing: Kansas City is a top team, Pittsburgh Steelers, we're in the game and we had some turnovers. We have to score on the interception that No. 53 (LB Craig Robertson) had. We didn't do well on those opportunities. As a past quarterback, I know that when we get the ball there that three isn't good anymore. We have to get seven on Big Ben (QB Ben Roethlisberger). Defense played a phenomenal game. Our defense played so well. Very proud of those guys."

On how this season's end compares to the others:
"I think the older I get, the more the losing piles up and the more bittersweet it is. I love the game and I love playing here, but with more losing comes more change."

On some of the things that have changed since last season:
"A lot of things have changed. The team is totally different than what it was when we started 7-4 last season. Different quarterbacks, different players across the board, and different offensive coordinators, so I think it is a lot of different things."

On Head Coach Mike Pettine's postgame speech:
"He thanked us for the fight and the effort that we gave. You could see that there was no quit in the team. We thought we gave the Steelers everything that we had, but we just came up short. You can fight hard for three and a half quarters, but in the end, the team that is better is going to come out in the end and win."

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