By Nate Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal –
BEREA, Ohio — Colt McCoy insists the idea of competing for the Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback job doesn’t bother him, provided he gets a fair shot.
It remains to be seen whether McCoy will receive a legitimate chance to hold off rookie Brandon Weeden for control of the offense, though such a notion seems like a long shot. Regardless, the competition entered a new phase Tuesday when McCoy and Weeden were on the field together in front of media for the first time as organized team activities kicked off at the Browns’ headquarters.
“If it’s a fair competition, then that’s all you can ask for,” McCoy said. “And regarding what everyone has said, this is a business. I don’t want this to be a situation where it’s me versus him or him versus me. I want it to be a situation of, and I think we can all agree to this, let’s help our team the most. Let’s make it about the Cleveland Browns being a great football team next year. And if that’s the case, I’m all in.”
McCoy took the snaps with the first-team offense throughout practice. Weeden, whom the Browns drafted 22nd overall last month, worked with the second unit, and Seneca Wallace was next in line. Browns coach Pat Shurmur, though, warned reporters not to put too much stock into who practiced with each unit.
After all, General Manager Tom Heckert said Monday the Browns “fully expect” Weeden to win the starting quarterback job.
“I think they came and got me in the first round for a reason, but (Heckert) said it best,” Weeden said. “I have to earn that job. They’re not just gonna hand it to me just because of where they took me.
“That’s the mentality I’m taking. It’s not my job. It’s my job to win. I’ve gotta go out and I’ve gotta take it. I’ve gotta be competitive and keep continuing to get better.”
Weeden took charge of the huddle Tuesday the way a starting quarterback would. As some of his new teammates were talking about the previous play, he got their attention and made sure they were focused.
“I can’t tell you what I said ‘cause you can’t write it,” Weeden said with a smile. “But, yeah, I think these guys, they understand it. They’ve been here before. Once I step into the huddle, I have the play, they know to be quiet, and they know it is my huddle.”
Of course, McCoy wants to call the huddle his own, too. He said he didn’t ask for a trade after the Browns drafted Weeden because the team’s decision makers assured him he would get a chance to compete for the starting job.
“I got a phone call and (they said), ‘Hey, just come in here and compete,’ “ McCoy said. “As a competitor, that’s all you need to hear, really. You just come in here with your head on right and give it all you have every day.”
McCoy declined to directly answer whether he would ask for a trade if he becomes Weeden’s backup.
“I don’t really deal with hypotheticals,” McCoy said. “I mean right now the only thing that they’ve told me is you can compete for the job. That’s the only thing I think about it. I kind of regard this as a day-by-day thing.”
Last month, ESPN reported the Browns told McCoy before the draft that they wouldn’t pick a quarterback in the first round. The Browns have adamantly denied the report.
“I don’t want to get into the he-said, she-said stuff,” McCoy said. “All I know is that I’m here. I’m excited to be here.”
When asked if he’s been given a fair shake, McCoy said, “You can’t make any excuses. This is the card that’s been dealt. I can just say that I’m working as hard as I can. I thought today went great, the first day of OTAs, you never know what to expect. One of my favorite quotes by the Navy SEALs is ‘The only easy day was yesterday.’ That’s just kind of how I have to live right now.”