By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
It’s all business. Don’t take it personally.
That’s the message from Browns center Alex Mack, who was back at work in the team’s offseason program on Monday, determined to put the business of a huge, new contract behind him.
Reports of Mack wanting out of Cleveland and the revolving door of Browns management regimes was termed by Mack as “positioning.”
“It’s business to business. All I can say is I’m happy to be here, excited to play football and I’m ready to work,” Mack said.
But Mack did not deny he is tired of all the change. Mike Pettine is his fourth head coach in six years. Kyle Shanahan will be his fifth offensive coordinator. But Andy Moeller will be only his second offensive line coach.
“Absolutely, you don’t want to see change and turnover,” Mack said. “There’s a lot going on. Jimmy Haslam did a great job of taking a lot of heat and changing around the building and making some moves. But it shows that he cares. It shows that he’s ready to take some heat to make decisions he thinks he needs to make. That’s exciting.”
Haslam led a large contingent of Browns officials to Mack’s home in southern California to try to avert a protracted contract negotiation. When it failed, the Browns slapped him with the transition tag to strategically reserve their chance at securing him to a long-term contract.
“It was interesting,” Mack said. “I think everyone had to go to Wikipedia and start looking up what that was. After I realized what it was, it was an interesting time and definitely made it a long and interesting offseason.”
While Mack said there were other teams that showed interest, only the Jacksonville Jaguars made an offer, which the Browns matched. The five-year contract for $42 million guarantees Mack $18 million the first two years and allows him to opt out and become an unrestricted free agent in 2016. It makes Mack the highest-paid center in the NFL.
“I’m excited for that. I work hard. I’m going to continue to do that,” he said.
What would it take for the Browns to keep him beyond the first two years?
“I want to win games,” Mack said. “That’s what we’re all about. That’s a question for two years from now.”
Stop the presses: The Browns have signed a fullback who specializes in old-fashioned lead blocking.
He’s Chris Pressley, who is 5-10 and 249 pounds, a former Wisconsin teammate of Joe Thomas who was last with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Pressley missed most of last season with a knee injury. Prior to that, he started for the Bengals in 2011 and 2012 as their lead-blocking fullback. In 2012, Bengals back BenJarvus Green-Ellis led the NFL by converting 14 of 15 third-and-1 situations.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Use the hashtag #HeyTony on Twitter or email your “Hey Tony” questions to email@example.comFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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