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T.J. Ward “definitely” wants to return to Browns

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The Browns will finish up their season with Sunday’s game against the Steelers and then they’ll move onto an offseason that’s sure to change the look of the team.

Cleveland has a pair of first-round picks and a need at quarterback, leaving General Manager Mike Lombardi with a chance to really put his stamp on the team. It won’t all be about players from outside the organization, though. The team will also have a decision to make about impending free agent safety T.J. Ward, who is wrapping up an excellent season.

Ward leads the Browns is tackles and tackles for losses and has scored two touchdowns this season, which is the latest in a string of losing years he’s experienced since coming to Cleveland. That hasn’t soured Ward on sticking around, though.

“I definitely want to be back,” Ward said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I like my team. I love my teammates. I love being in this city. I love the organization. We haven’t had many wins, but I think we’re building something here, and I think it’s being built the right way. When you start something, I’m a person that wants to finish things and I want to finish things on a winning note. I want to play in the playoffs here, I want to bring this city a championship. I’ve been doing everything in my power to help this team win so I definitely want to see that through.”

If the Browns feel the same way about Ward, it should be fairly easy to keep him. Even if they can’t reach quick agreement on a long-term deal, the Browns can use the franchise tag to ensure Ward sticks around for at least another year while buying more time to hash out a deal.

Given how well Ward has played this season and the need to keep a strong defense while putting a new quarterback in place, the best guess is that he won’t wind up leaving town.

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32 Responses to “T.J. Ward “definitely” wants to return to Browns”
  1. dtp1056 says: Dec 25, 2013 8:14 AM

    Ward and Mack are absolute must sign players. Management would be very ignorant to think they could pick up a safety and center as good as these guys in FA or the draft. Why start over? Cleveland has done enough of that.

  2. Sandra Lee's Cans says: Dec 25, 2013 8:42 AM

    I agree these two players should be resigned. The Browns have cap space out the wazoo and Ward has been effective this year the way he’s been used by Ray Horton. Centers are overlooked as far as their importance to the offensive line goes but Mack is a solid anchor and Pro Bowler. Not sexy, but solid players nonetheless.

  3. pacodawg says: Dec 25, 2013 8:43 AM

    Ward is a keeper, not Mack. You can’t have 30% of you money going to offensive lineman. Mack is above average that’s it. His agent wants him to be the highest paid center, no chance of that. Browns are not far way though. The difference is 4-11 and a 8-7 team is a bad snap over Weedon’s head (thanks Mack), one sided officiating (Patriors game) and anearly jump by Gibson against the Bears.

  4. officialgame says: Dec 25, 2013 8:47 AM

    Back in the day with a superior Eagles team Joe Banner let players like Jerome Trotter and Brian Dawkins among others walk. In fact that is probably the #1 reason Philly soured on him. Hopefully for Brown fans he has learned his lesson.

  5. ajgreenhof says: Dec 25, 2013 8:47 AM

    Cincy and Cleveland are about to run the AFC North for the next decade.

  6. tralfaz1127 says: Dec 25, 2013 8:54 AM

    He’ll be a Bengal next year, they have a ton of cap room also, a need for a safety next to Reggie Nelson, oh and they go to the playoffs.
    Remember Lombardi’s history, he’ll blow the draft picks too.

  7. pacodawg says: Dec 25, 2013 9:04 AM

    Sandra you’re nuts. Pro Bowl Center? He was in 1 in 5 years, he was an alternate that got selected as a result of injury. Solid yes, highest paid in NFL ZERO chance of that happening.

    Although he did score a touchdown in the Pro Bowl LOL

  8. groundpounder95 says: Dec 25, 2013 9:18 AM

    officialgame says:
    Dec 25, 2013 8:47 AM
    Back in the day with a superior Eagles team Joe Banner let players like Jerome Trotter and Brian Dawkins among others walk. In fact that is probably the #1 reason Philly soured on him. Hopefully for Brown fans he has learned his lesson.
    ________________________________________________________________________

    It’s Jeremiah Trotter, and it was only a few years ago, not back in the day with Dawkins. Dawkins only had a year or two left in him. When he left, fans were upset, but got over it, and honored him by retiring his number. #1 reason for Banner getting let go in Philly, horrible drafts year after year, backed a poor coaching scheme (75% pass 25% run), and his time was up. But having players not resigned was far from Banner’s issue in Philly.

  9. cbass59 says: Dec 25, 2013 9:25 AM

    Why would you want to stay in Cleveland? And expansion team since 1999 and a team dominated by the Steelers since 1991. Since 1990 the Steelers have either swept the clowns and/or had a better record. Cowher was 21-5 vs. clowns (started in 1992). Tomlin has lost twice. When Bernie the drunk bankrupt loser retired, the browns had a 17 game lead in the Steelers/browns series. Now the Steelers have a 5 game lead and the Purple Browns are our rivals. You make great beer Cleveland but your football team stinks.

  10. thefiesty1 says: Dec 25, 2013 9:27 AM

    Wanting to win a championship is one thing, actually happening, not so much. He must have forgotten he plays in Cleveland.

  11. bengalguy says: Dec 25, 2013 9:43 AM

    Embrace the Suck TJ!!!!
    WHO DEY !

  12. officialgame says: Dec 25, 2013 9:58 AM

    It’s Jeremiah Trotter, and it was only a few years ago, not back in the day with Dawkins. Dawkins only had a year or two left in him. When he left, fans were upset, but got over it, and honored him by retiring his number. #1 reason for Banner getting let go in Philly, horrible drafts year after year, backed a poor coaching scheme (75% pass 25% run), and his time was up. But having players not resigned was far from Banner’s issue in Philly.

    Get your facts right. Trotter left in 2001 and signed with the Redskins the same year the heavily favored Eagles lost to Tampa in the Championship game. The Eagles never were able to replace Trotter that year and it hurt their Superbowl chances. Future Hall of Famer Dawkins was near the end but he went to Denver, mentored their young players, and played well. You don’t let a man / player of that caliber leave town and Eagles owner Jeffry Laurie called it his biggest regret as an owner. He never felt the same about Banner after that happened.

  13. brownsclown says: Dec 25, 2013 10:14 AM

    The surest bet in Cleveland is that Dumbardi will screw this up!
    Look at his first draft and free agent wave-Kruger & Mingo basically contributed nothing, McFadden couldn’t earn a snap with the starters, Bryant had a heart condition!

  14. groundpounder95 says: Dec 25, 2013 10:48 AM

    officialgame,

    Any why did Trotter leave, $$$$$. Or is that Jerome Trotter??? lol, I am well aware of when the axeman left and eventually came back. And it’s Lurie. I can’t take your talk seriously, because your facts, which begin with correct names are incorrect.

  15. baltimorons says: Dec 25, 2013 11:13 AM

    Dear God…why would you want to return there?!!

  16. JSpicoli says: Dec 25, 2013 11:16 AM

    Reggie McKenzie is going to pay him

  17. 6ball says: Dec 25, 2013 11:38 AM

    .

    Mike Lombardi has 50 million in cap space plus 2 picks each in rounds 1, 3, and 4. He already has some talent on each side of the ball. He is devoid of excuses.

    Will Lombardi be Ozzie Newsome or Matt Millan? Tune in next April.

    .

  18. ballboy48 says: Dec 25, 2013 11:55 AM

    Cleveland has a ton of cap space, for both, but I think they’ll resign Ward and let Mack go. Cleveland will be a key player this year in FA, and will have enough draft picks to get some players. Hopefully, for their sake, they get the right ones!

  19. ballboy48 says: Dec 25, 2013 11:57 AM

    @baltimorons, cause Cleveland has a real fanbase, not a bandwagon one.

  20. dudermcrbohan says: Dec 25, 2013 12:01 PM

    gotta have Ward. You need a guy that has no qualms about blowing out the knees of the opposing team’s players by diving into them. Student of the game for sure.

  21. cincinasty87 says: Dec 25, 2013 12:07 PM

    Come to the AFCN CHAMPS TJ bring Joe Haden with you ! Who-Dey

  22. Big Ant TV says: Dec 25, 2013 12:58 PM

    yess resign TJ Ward let mack go u can laways get a younger stud center and more offensive linemen in the draft

  23. td40 says: Dec 25, 2013 12:58 PM

    LOL, Bengals – one and done in the playoffs. Without a doubt.

    In other news, as a huge Browns fan, I am doing my best to figure out why people like or want to keep TJ Ward. Basically, it’s like we see him make one or two high profile, good plays over the course of a game or two, and suddenly our fans think he’s a top flight, pro bowl safety. That’s how desperate we Cleveland fans are for talent. We see somebody do something good once in a blue moon and suddenly, that player is the best thing since sliced bread.

    What about all the games in Ward’s career in Cleveland where he was out of position on a play, attempted weak alligator arm tackles that didn’t bring the ball carrier down, had an INT hit him in the chest and couldn’t hold onto the ball, couldn’t close a 3 yard gap on a receiver/runner, etc, etc. If you *really* watch Browns games, you would know that *this* is the usual M.O. for Ward, much more than breaking up passes, tackling ball carriers, and being some kind of ball hawk. TJ Ward is yards from the ball or the tackle on far more passing plays than ones he actually helps on.

    Of course, most Cleveland fans have blinders on and desperately want to cling to the idea that *someone* on this team has a lot of talent, so I’ll get plenty of thumbs down here. That’s ok- you know the truth: As much as we all want the Browns to win, TJ Ward just isn’t that great a safety. He has heart, he says the right things, and he occasionally contributes- but more often than not, he’s nowhere near the play. Just watch if you don’t believe me. You’ll see Haden or Gipson of Robertson tackle someone, and here comes TJ Ward flying past or diving on the pile- 2 seconds later.

    But I sure appreciate him trying :)

  24. jrs45 says: Dec 25, 2013 1:27 PM

    *Noll

  25. Patskrieg dot com says: Dec 25, 2013 1:50 PM

    Cheap shot artist

  26. gary2525 says: Dec 25, 2013 2:47 PM

    They must resign ward for there defense, but it’s Cleveland they won’t

  27. coachbeck says: Dec 25, 2013 11:39 PM

    Ray Horton becomes a head coach. Browns defense = down the tubes

  28. dreday003 says: Dec 26, 2013 12:32 PM

    All You Cleveland Haters got it coming …
    We are taking over this AFC North for the
    Next Ten Years

  29. oldcracker says: Dec 26, 2013 12:58 PM

    Enough with reinventing the wheel every 3-4 years.

    We must keep Ward, that is a given. While Mack may not be “pro bowl” caliber, he is very good and experienced with the team and at the position. (Remember what Guards he’s had to work with on either side) We had a chance to add an experienced O-line guy or two, last off-season, but didn’t. Resign Mack, too. Keep the nucleus intact and build upon it.

    Don’t even waste pick on another QB unless we have “the line” to protect him. Get another WR with hands to play opposite of Gordon….THEN add a QB.

    The Defense Secondary could use a little more help, too.

    For once and for all, GET BUILD A SOLID LINE for the QB’s!

  30. bnn52 says: Dec 26, 2013 1:26 PM

    Loyal lifelong Browns fan here. TJ Ward is a must-resign guy this offseason. He is a leader both on the field and in the locker room and a top 10 safety in the league. There isnt anyone out there that is a better answer in either free agency or the draft. Mack is a good, solid Center, but he is not worth being the highest paid Center in the NFL. If he were going for a market average salary, hell yeah resign him, but I would not be willing to use a ton of our cap space in him. You can get another C in free agency or the draft that will pan out just the same.

  31. dreday003 says: Dec 26, 2013 4:16 PM

    Browns have a lot of cap space and they have a lot of draft picks most important is that we have a serviceable QB IN Brayen Hoyer. So they should draft WR Sammy Watkins and with the 2nd 1st round pick they should draft a David Yankey, OG, Stanford and a 2nd round pick they should draft Andre Williams RB, Boston Collage Plz let me know what u guys think?

  32. raiderapologist says: Dec 26, 2013 4:22 PM

    When your safety is leading the team in tackles, it might be a good idea to spend some of that cap money on linebackers.

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