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Browns' Mack looking forward with business over

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 14, 2014 at 2:37 pm •  Published: April 14, 2014
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BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Dressed in a powder blue T-shirt, plaid shorts and a pair of flip-flops, Alex Mack looked ready to take a stroll on a beach somewhere in Florida. Maybe someday.

Instead, Mack walked back into work in Cleveland, still a member of the Browns.

Relieved that a whirlwind few weeks are behind him, the Pro Bowl center said he's looking forward to focusing on football and a day when the Browns stabilize into a consistent winner.

"It's been a long road, and I'm absolutely happy with where I'm at," he said. "I'm here to win games. I'm here to work hard. That's what we're all about."

Mack reported for the Browns' offseason program on Monday, three days after the team quickly matched the five-year, $42 million offer sheet he signed from the Jacksonville Jaguars. The deal, which guarantees him $18 million in the first two years, also allows Mack an option to become a free agent in 2016, when he could choose to leave Cleveland.

For now, he's not going anywhere other than to the weight room, and intends to spend the next few weeks learning Cleveland's new offense.

At various points during his complicated entanglement, Mack, who had been given a transition tag by the Browns when free agency began, was reportedly fed up with the constant losing and turnover in Cleveland. And while he acknowledged the instability has worn on him, Mack insisted that any stories floated about his dissatisfaction with the Browns was merely "positioning" by his agents.

"Business is business," he said. "All I can say is that I'm happy to be here, I'm excited to play football and I'm ready to work."

Now the NFL's richest center, Mack, who has played 4,998 consecutive snaps since the Browns drafted him in 2009, said he's encouraged by some of the team's moves this winter, including the hiring of coach Mike Pettine. Mack has played under three other head coaches in his first five seasons with Cleveland.

Before free agency opened, Pettine traveled along with owner Jimmy Haslam and several assistant coaches to visit Mack. He said the meeting had a positive effect on him.

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