NFL Draft: Brandon Weeden ready to make an impact with Cleveland Browns

By Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal Published: April 27, 2012

“Fire away,” Weeden said, wasting no time after the obligatory jersey presentations.

Of more pressing concern is how Weeden is going to lead a team that has made only one playoff appearance since 1999 and make the transition from a spread offense.

It appears the leadership part will be easy. Weeden was friendly and patient, answering the umpteenth question about his age and delayed football career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he was the oldest player to be picked in the first round of the common draft era.

Shurmur said when the Browns evaluated Weeden, they all became “very fond” of him, which included owner Randy Lerner (a dead ringer for Weeden), president Mike Holmgren and General Manager Tom Heckert.

The Browns are smitten and not in the least bit concerned about Weeden's decision to pursue baseball first, even as he said he always threw a football in the offseason to build his arm strength.

“My senior year I was one of the better players coming out of Oklahoma,” said Weeden, who played at Edmond Santa Fe. “To have the opportunity to be the first pick of the New York Yankees, with the opportunity to go back to school and they pay for it, it's too much as an 18-year-old kid to pass up.

“I wouldn't change my decision. I don't regret anything I've ever done. I think everything happens for a reason. It's kind of funny how things work out. I'm blessed to be where I am right now.”

Will he be saying that in December, when it's snowing and the wind is whipping off Lake Erie and he's trying to get the ball to Greg Little?

“You ever been to Oklahoma? Whew! Oklahoma is a windy place,” Weeden said. “I've heard the wind swirls in the stadium. What it all comes down to is throwing a tight spiral and not allowing the wind to affect your ball.

“We played at Texas Tech this year and we had wind gusts of 80. There was stuff on the field and it was crazy, but I think it was one of my best throwing games of the year as far as accuracy. If you start thinking about it, you're in trouble. It helps to put a little extra mustard on it here and there.”

After his unusual journey, Weeden feels he's where he belongs, selected by the team he wanted to play for. For a Browns fan base tired of quarterbacks who didn't budge the needle on the “bigger, stronger, faster” barometer, Weeden's 97-mph fastballs should be a treat indeed.

MCT Information Services

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