CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Case Keenum didn't have to wait long to hear from his new Browns teammates. And fellow quarterback Baker Mayfield was one of the first to reach out.
"He shot me a text really as soon as the news broke," Keenum said during a conference call on Wednesday. "He was one of the first of many, which was really cool. It meant a lot to me. It really did."
Mayfield doesn't have to worry about his starting job. But a 9-year veteran like Keenum can certainly push the former first overall pick. Mayfield threw almost as many interceptions (21) as touchdowns (22) in his second year, but a new head coach, Kevin Stefanski, and a veteran presence like Keenum could help Baker get back on track.
Keenum played under Stefanski in Minnesota in 2017 and had his best season as a pro, throwing for more than 3,500 yards with 22 TD's and only 7 interceptions.
“Kevin was awesome," Keenum said. "He was so good. I feel like me and him were so similar that he knew just how I viewed the game and how I needed to prepare. He was very detailed, very organized and really, really prepared. I had to go into the meeting prepared because he was prepared. He was going to expect that from me. He was going to demand that from me. I was prepared as well as I have ever been prepared for any game that entire season. Every game that year was a huge credit to him and the job he did in our quarterback room as a whole. I am excited to work with him as a head coach.”
The Browns, working with yet again another new head coach, were scheduled to kick off their offseason workouts on April 6. But Wednesday, all NFL team headquarters shut down due to the coronavirus. There is no telling when players will be allowed back in the facilities. But when Keenum and the rest of the Browns do return, he made it clear: he's coming in as the backup to Baker.
“I have come into situations where there is a competition, and I know this is not one," Keenum said. “This is one I talked about long before free agency even started with my agent and that there was quite a bit of quarterback musical chairs this year. When Tom Brady is a free agent, there is kind of an unspoken thing where you kind of wait to see where Tom Brady goes and you go somewhere else, type of situation. We knew how it was going to work with Brady, Rivers and a lot of other free agents who were available. We knew finding a situation where there was an attractive backup job was going to be kind of our priority, and we did that with the Browns. It worked out perfectly that the Browns were looking at me, and we had the Browns highlighted, as well. No, I know coming in what my role is and that is nice. It is nice to not have you guys ask questions – like you are trying to do now – to stir up a little bit of controversy (laughter). Maybe not stir up controversy… Just having a little fun there (laughter). I am excited to know my role and to know there is no uncertainty in the quarterback room.”