"It was a lot of thought and prayer. Meeting with the coaches and getting a good feel for the direction that coach (Mike) Pettine was heading with the team. Also speaking with (Owner) Mr. (Jimmy) Haslam and (General Manager) Ray (Farmer). I really felt good and they were all sending the same message. That coupled with the personnel that is there, the offense line, that was a huge factor in that and their ability to run the ball. All those things considered were big pieces in this decision."
On how you balance wanting to start verses mentoring other players:
"It's easy. You prepare. You've got to lead by example first and foremost. If you go out and do the things it takes to get yourself ready to play and on the way to doing that you sit in the room so much with the guys that hopefully some of the things that come up throughout the course of preparation and different conversations as you study, that you can use some of that time to share some of your experiences and hopefully guys can benefit from it."
On being at a place that has had 22 different starting QBs since 1999, where well-meaning guys have come in and struggled:
"It's obviously a tall order. My reaction is that that is in the past. I've got to hone in on this team in this year and play good football and do what it takes for this team to win football games. You can't get caught up in that. Like you said, a lot of 'well-meaning guys,' every guy comes in with the same mindset and intentions and mine will be no different. What I am excited about is the people that are there currently like I said the offensive line and those guys I will be playing with and the coaches I am going to be working for. If you just looked at it like that and just said 22 guys or whatever have been here before then it's just, 'Hey, let's pack up and go home because it's pointless,' but that is not my mindset. That is not my attitude. I want to attack this thing and do everything I can to change that and more than anything, help this team win football games."
"Those are individual incidents respective of themselves so I don't really get into those things. My visit, like I said, went really, really well. It was thought out as far as the organization went. I talked to everybody. I got a chance to meet with everybody. It really solidified to me that things are going in the right direction. I think it's important to understand and to remember that there's a lot of people going through last year's situation from ownership, to the general manager to the head coach who were all in their first year of something. For me, I take that into consideration and look the totality of it and said, 'It seems like they made a really good step in this first year, all things considered.' That part is encouraging to me."
On what happened last year with his 1-10 record as a starting QB:
"Yeah, not a whole lot to say about it, other than it just wasn't good enough. I've said it before. I don't shy away from it. In that situation, I wasn't good enough in that situation to pull us out of that. It was an unfortunate thing to happen, losing an offensive coordinator the week before the season, and everybody busted their butt to try to pull together and get ourselves out of that. We just weren't good enough. I own my part of that, for sure. If anything, it just lights a fire to get that bad taste out of my mouth because that was not the way certainly I would have hoped to have planned for that season to go. I want to see it changed. Lord willing, I'll never be in that situation again, but I think, too, I'm better prepared if that does happen because I sure did learn a lot."
On how seriously he takes his role and responsibility to be a positive influence on QB Johnny Manziel:
"For me, it's just come in and just like anybody on the team -- but you're right, there's a close connection because play the same position and we'll be in the meeting rooms together -- to me it's just to serve my team and help my team and any teammate as best I can, Johnny included. Whatever I can do to help somebody, I'm available and willing to do that."
On if he knows Manziel at all and Manziel as a player:
"We just met pre-draft last year when he visited Tampa. It was brief meeting, nothing too serious. I don't really know him past that. Obviously, his career is well-documented and he played at Texas A&M. My older brother (Randy) played quarterback at Texas A&M so we follow them and stuff like that, but I don't know him past that. I'm looking forward to getting to know him."
On if he asked the Browns what the team's plans were at QB beyond him and if he expects another QB to join their group:
"With that, Tony (Grossi), I'll leave those conversations between myself and the Browns. I'm excited about what we're going to do moving forward and building the team. No matter who joins us in that room or what that room looks like, the goal and my part at least is to help us come together and play good football. It starts with me. As the veteran in there right now, it starts with me. I'm excited about that and I embrace that, and I look forward to helping that group play good football and going out and doing that myself, too. That's really as much as I can comment on that."
"What? I'm sorry?"
"Where am I? I'm in San Diego."
"That's a good question. Some of it, will. But no, that's where the cool thing for me during the visit was just sitting with Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) and seeing how much he has evolved and grown as a coach and the ideas and things he likes to do. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm excited about the opportunities to play in Flip's system. Obviously, every NFL offense, there's something there that resembles – there will definitely be some things here or there. I think if you look at what this group was able to do last year running the football, it's certainly encouraging to know we can do that, have that kind of ground game. I think building on that will be key for us, and that's the fun part of this year is coming together and seeing the pieces that you've got and really building it together."
" How much of the decision was based upon that? I don't think… For me, it was more of what's the right fit, and if I go there, can we win football games and be productive? And NFL coaching experience was big for me. Just having guys that have been in the league for a while. This certainly qualified for me. As far as both Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) and (quarterbacks coach) Kevin O'Connell – are new to their current positions – but they both have experience in the NFL so I have value on that, for sure. Those were probably the main pieces. Any situation, you never know how it's going to shake out, but what you want to be able to do is, when you play, be able to play productive football. That's the key for me."