CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Nothing was going to overshadow Odell Beckham Jr.'s return to the field on Tuesday, but Duke Johnson came close, as the Browns running back also returned after skipping OTA's, and reiterated that he didn't want to stay long. Johnson still wants to be traded.
The fifth-year veteran, who’s been underutilized by multiple coaches in Berea and has started only ten games in four seasons, insisted that he never wanted to leave the Browns, until he heard that the team was dangling him on the trading bloc.
“I understand the nature of the business”, Johnson told reporters on Tuesday. “I understand (GM) John Dorsey’s job, and if that’s getting rid of me for a bigger piece, I’m okay with it. I was put on the trade bloc a month before my trade request.”
Johnson was asked if there’s anything the Browns can do at this point to make him want to stay?
“No sir”, he replied.
But Baker Mayfield also had some strong things to say today, especially when asked if Duke’s situation makes it awkward for the other players.
“It’s not awkward”, the Browns quarterback said. “It’s self-inflicted. It is what it is. It’s not awkward for anyone else in this building.”
Head coach Freddie Kitchens also expressed his expectations for Johnson.
“I expect Duke to be a professional, and I think he will be”, Kitchens said. “He has never been anything but a professional. Whatever his personal feelings are, those are his personal feelings. I am not going to dictate someone’s feelings. Just like I told you about other players in the past, whatever their feelings are, they are free to voice whatever they want to say. Alright? Duke is a part of the team. All of the other stuff is just hyperbole, just inventing, imagining or thinking or reacting or something like that.”
In the end, both coach and quarterback can sum it up.
“He’s under contract”, said Kitchens.
“You’re either on the train or you’re not”, Mayfield said. “It’s moving. You can get out of the way, or you can join us.”