BEREA — In just his second season, Baker Mayfield was selected as the offensive captain through a player vote.
The totals weren’t announced to the media, but it sounds like he won in a landslide.
“It was a pretty easy vote and more credit to him … even still being a second-year player, to earn team captain is quite an accomplishment,” center JC Tretter said Friday.
“I love it. We all know what type of guy Baker is, what he brings to the table attitude-wise and on the field,” linebacker Christian Kirksey said. “He’s our quarterback. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind he was going to be our captain.”
Kirksey is a defensive captain for the third straight season, and long snapper Charley Hughlett was chosen as the special teams captain.
In addition to the three permanent captains, coach Freddie Kitchens will have game captains.
“That is special to be named a captain because that tells you what your peers think of you,” he said. “We had a lot of guys who had a lot of votes. When you have a lot of guys who get a lot of votes, that means a lot of guys are affecting other people. That is a good thing.”
Mayfield has taken on more of a leadership role this year and loves it.
“That’s the one thing about Baker, he kind of has that magnetic personality where guys are kind of attracted to him and (want to) be around him,” Tretter said. “He just has that ability to rally a locker room, and that’s been since the first day he stepped foot in here, the Jets game and kind of the whole story.”
GOOD TO GO
Kitchens won’t limit receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s playing time Sunday in the opener against the Titans as he comes back from a minor hip injury.
“No. He is going,” Kitchens said.
Beckham told reporters Thursday he hadn’t run full speed — “I’ve just been kind of afraid to just open up,” he said — since he felt discomfort following a camp practice. He didn’t play in the preseason and missed three weeks of team drills before returning last week. He was a full participant in practice all week.
Kitchens was asked if he has any concerns about Beckham’s health.
“No, Odell is ready to go,” he said.
Eric Kush was expected to get the start at right guard, and Kitchens made it definitive Friday. He’s been working with the starters for more than a month.
“We’re settling into a groove, obviously we’ve gotten a lot of reps together, so we’re really comfortable as a group,” Tretter said. “He’s a vet, he’s seen a lot of things, so the communication and understanding of what’s coming, it’s easy to talk to him about, what we’re seeing and how we’re interpreting blitzes and stuff like that.”
Kitchens, already popular, further endeared himself to fans by proclaiming his love of dogs. He has four after finding a home for the last of a litter.
“We kept one of the puppies,” he said. “They are great. I work all the time. For my daughters and wife, they are very comforting in a lot of various ways. We love animals, we love horses, dogs and we love it all.”
The Cockapoos and an Australian Labradoodle are named Coffee Bean (dark brown), Brown Potato (light brown), Friday and Monday. Kitchens declared Monday his favorite, while Minicamp was the last puppy given away.
BEEN A LONG TIME
Browns players are often surprised at the futility that preceded them. Kirksey and defensive end Myles Garrett were unaware the last Week 1 win came in 2004.
“Oooh, that’s some history. Wow,” Kirksey said. “It’s crazy. We’ve got to break that chain.”
When informed of the stat, Garrett said he’d use it as motivation.
“We’ve just got to go out and perform as we have been during camp,” he said. “Don’t do anything special. Don’t go out there trying to make plays that you haven’t made before. Just do your job and things will fall into your lap.”
Receiver Jarvis Landry didn’t practice in the offseason because of an undisclosed injury and said he’s still working his way back to 100 percent. He wasn’t listed on the injury report this week.
“It’s taking a little time, but I’m getting there,” he said.
** Kitchens said there were 50 pass interference challenges across the league during the preseason, and only five were overturned. He learned a lesson.
“You have to be pretty certain,” he said.
** Offensive coordinator Todd Monken said running back D’Ernest Johnson has “a unique mental toughness.”
** The Browns will set off pyrotechnics above the stadium two hours (when the gates open) and one hour before games to remind tailgating fans to make their way to the stadium so they can be in their seats for the start of the game.