Place chart

Brissett and Browns in good place ahead of Game 1 | News, Sports, Jobs

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski tackles Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears on Saturday, August 27, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

BEREA – Jacoby Brissett had other options, better choices. There were certainly more stable ones for a well-respected veteran quarterback.

But Cleveland, with its penchant for mayhem and controversy, didn’t scare Brissett off. Completely the opposite.

The mess around the Browns intrigued Brissett and actually made them more appealing. So much so that he signed a one-year contract as a free agent in March despite no promise of playing time this season.

“Cleveland has always been in the media like anything,” Brissett said in a candid chat inside the team facility after practice last week. “And I was like, ‘I’m going to go.’ So, yes, I put myself here. I could have gone elsewhere and accepted being anything.

“I wanted this. I know what type of man I am. I know what type of player I am. I know what kind of teammate I am.

He got his wish. Things have a funny way of working for Brissett.

The 29-year-old, who has made unexpected leaps in the depth chart and started in previous stops in New England, Indianapolis and Miami while battling self-doubt and depression, begins the 2022 season in as Cleveland’s No. 1 quarterback – No. 1 with an asterisk.

Brissett is counted on to keep the Browns in the hunt for the AFC while Deshaun Watson serves his 11-game NFL suspension for alleged sexual misconduct. Watson is not eligible to play until Dec. 4 – and only then if he meets the requirements agreed to in a settlement with the league – and upon his return Brissett will step down.

That might be hard to do if the Browns are in playoff contention and he’s a big reason for their success. However, Brissett, who is 14-23 as a starter, is under no illusions about his supporting role.

Once Watson returns, it’s his team.

“No question,” Brissett said without hesitation. “I am a teammate first. I have no ego. Well, I like to think I don’t have the ego to say I’m going to make the decision now. It does not depend on me.

Since his arrival, Brissett has been a stable presence for a team that has spent the summer shrouded in the Watson saga. Passing on the wisdom of his past experiences, he became a leader, which was one of the qualities that drew the Browns to him.

Before Brissett signed, Cleveland did his homework, knowing there was a good chance he was thrown into a unique situation. The Browns have only heard positive things.

“The coaches I spoke to about Jacoby first praised him and the person,” coach Kevin Stefanski said. “Then when you start to dive into the things he’s been through and the situations he’s been in, it shows you that he’s a player who’s seen a lot in his young life and his young career and I think he made him a really resilient person and a really, really strong leader for this football team.

Brissett’s younger teammates regard him as an eccentric older brother who makes them laugh. He does not know why.

“I never really make jokes,” Brissett said. “I really just think because I’m older than them and I just say stuff and I’m really serious and they think I’m joking they think maybe it’s funny.”

He comes across as outgoing and charming, the epitome of a people person. But Brissett said there have been times, even some since joining the Browns, when it’s been difficult for him to be engaged or connected.

Appearances can be deceiving. It wasn’t always what it seems.

“I always joke with people that I hate people, but I love people,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of bad days, dark days and a lot of, ‘(Expletive), I wish I had someone to lean on and have someone to talk to.’

“I have it now. But I had a lot of days of keeping stuff to myself and now I know how bad it was for me and the person it turned me into.

Afraid of letting people down or failing to meet their expectations, Brissett fought back. It took him a while to understand why he put other people’s feelings before his own. The smallest things triggered negativity and anxiety.

He began talking to a therapist while with the Colts, and Brissett credits those ongoing sessions as well as reading about mental health and following Cavaliers All-Star Kevin Love’s journey with helping him cope. .

It remains a work in progress.

“I can only do the best I can,” he said. “In my life, that was enough for me. In some of my dark days, I thought to myself, “Damn, I have to do this for this person. I need to please someone else and it never made me feel comfortable playing.

“It never made me feel comfortable in anything, to the point where and I’ll never forget that. I was talking to my therapist while I was crying and she asked me, ‘Why do you think that people please?” And she was just like, ‘Jacoby, you’re enough.’ And just hearing someone say that, fuck, maybe she’s right. I’ve had enough.”

Brissett is certain he picked the right place, and even more confident the Browns picked the right quarterback.

Cleveland feels good.

“It’s great for me,” he said. “I’m a bit of a lonely person, so I don’t do much. I literally do the same thing every day: walk my dog, go to work, come home and walk my dog. I found my way. I know where Waffle House is, so I’m fine.

Today’s breaking news and more to your inbox