Weeden eager for competition to remain Browns' QB
"He thinks highly of Norv, and I think every guy that's ever played for Norv Turner has always come away extremely impressed and become not only friends but just he's their mentor. He's been one of the best in the game for a long time," Weeden said. "A lot of people regard him as one of the best play-callers of all time — definitely in the game today — so it's going to be exciting playing for him."
Weeden made the appearance to bring attention to his effort with The Children's Hospital Foundation, hoping to raise funding for an endowed chair position that could attract a pediatric heart surgeon to Oklahoma City. One of his wife's co-workers has a 6-year-old son, Gavin, who required three surgeries after being essentially born with half a heart, and the family had to fly to San Diego to get treatment after a local surgeon relocated there.
"We just don't have a pediatric surgeon, and we need to find a way to get that done," said Weeden, who raised $90,000 for the cause last year and is planning a golf tournament and other fundraisers to bring in more this summer.
Before bringing Gavin to the microphone, Weeden recalled the high and low points of his first season and said he's absolutely looking forward to no longer being a rookie. The highlight, he said, was a victory over rival Pittsburgh even though he missed the end of the game with a concussion and didn't get to celebrate.
His wake-up calls to NFL reality came when he decided not to wear a rib protector in a game against Green Bay and got hit so hard on a sack that he lost his breath long enough that he couldn't call the signals on the next play, and when Baltimore's Ray Lewis leveled him after he released a pass and then stood over him.
Those were only part of the maturing experience for the 29-year-old Weeden.
"I think as a quarterback, you have so much going on around you. There's so much demand, I guess, is the best way to put it," he said. "You not only worry about learning our offense. You've got to study film on them. There's so much demand on the quarterback position, it actually went by fast. Everybody talks about a rookie wall. I didn't even hit a rookie wall because I didn't have time to."
In that whirlwind, he also never felt that he became a team leader, and he wants to change that in his second year.
"Now, this year, that's my job," he said. "Now, it's my offense and it's my turn to kind of take the lead and be the leader."
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