EDMOND — At around 9:05 p.m. Thursday, Brandon Weeden answered his cellphone.
A giant smile formed across the former Oklahoma State quarterback’s face as he stood in the kitchen of his parents’ home. He referred to a “Tom” on the other line.
“Let’s do it,” Weeden said. “I’m pumped. I’m jacked. I’m ready.”
Immediately after he hung up, he hollered and pumped his fist. He hugged his father, Robbie, his mother, Sharie, and his wife, Melanie.
On the phone was Tom Heckert, the general manager of the Cleveland Browns. And a few minutes later, Weeden stood with family and friends in front of a big-screen television as NFL commissioner Roger Godddell officially announced that the Browns had selected Weeden with the 22nd overall pick of the draft.
Then there was more yelling. More hugs. And lots of tears of joy.
“Once I saw the Ohio (area code), I knew something good was about to happen,” Weeden said. “I spoke with Mr. Heckert, then Coach (Pat) Shurmur got on and then (team president Mike) Holmgren. This is kind of surreal, man. This is awesome.”
Weeden, who holds nearly every OSU passing record, is the first Cowboy quarterback to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. He also joined his former go-to receiver as a 2012 first-rounder, as Justin Blackmon was selected fifth overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Browns have long been known to be targeting Weeden, but it could have been for either their 22nd pick or their early second-round pick (No. 37 overall). Cleveland, however, went ahead and pulled the trigger on the guy who was generally regarded as the fourth-best quarterback available.
The pick gives the Browns a legitimate challenger to current starting quarterback Colt McCoy, and Weeden a chance to start early in his NFL career. Last season, McCoy completed 57.2 percent of his passes for 2,733 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his first season as the full-time starter. He ranked 25th in the NFL in quarterback rating (74.6).
“That’s going to be the fun part — competing,” Weeden said. “(McCoy’s) a great player. It’s going to be fun working along with him …(in that) that West Coast system, airing it out.”
Weeden has a 7:30 a.m. flight Friday to report to his new employer.
In the Browns, Weeden joins a franchise that is tied for the second-longest active playoff drought in the NFL. But Holmgren is one of the most respected minds in football and is known for his work with quarterbacks, most notably Brett Favre and Steve Young during his time as the head coach of the Packers and the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach of the 49ers.
“Obviously, they’re building,” Weeden said. “I’ve said this all along, when I left Cleveland, I felt really good with their direction as far as an organization.”
And in Weeden, the Browns get one of college football’s elite quarterbacks over the past two seasons. He went 23-3 in his two seasons as a starter and completed 72.4 percent of his passes for 4,727 yards, 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2011. He helped lead the Cowboys to the first Big 12 title in school history and a Fiesta Bowl win last season.