PHOENIX — Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey peered down over his black-rimmed eyeglasses earlier this week, his eyes directed toward the ground as he listened intently. And as Dorsey, who stood in the lobby of the posh Arizona Biltmore hotel at the NFL owners meeting, began his response to the central question that many have posed about the suddenly star-laden team he has assembled — what makes you believe your team is equipped to withstand potential drama all these big personalities can bring? — Dorsey looked convinced as he explained the singular trait he expects to unify the Browns.
“Get guys that love the game of football, get guys that are passionate about it, get guys that are really good teammates … and you can get along with that,” Dorsey told Yahoo Sports.
“I’ve seen locker rooms with huge personalities [that won]. The San Francisco 49ers. The Dallas Cowboys back in the day, with Deion [Sanders] and Michael [Irvin] and all those guys. The Green Bay Packers with Reggie White and Brett Favre. You had some big personalities in those locker rooms.”
That’s why, in the pursuit of turning around a perpetually hapless franchise, Dorsey is OK with stacking the roster with players who draw lots of attention for their sometimes flammable personalities.
This offseason alone, Dorsey added running back Kareem Hunt — the NFL’s leading rusher in 2017 — who was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs last season after a video surfaced of him shoving and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel, and Odell Beckham Jr., a star receiver whose sideline tantrums and volatile personality made him a lightning rod for the New York tabloids. He also signed defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who made lots of headlines early in his career with the New York Jets.
Those three join a team that includes Antonio Callaway, a super-talented receiver who fell to the fourth round of the 2018 NFL draft after a string of incidents at Florida, and even outspoken quarterback Baker Mayfield, whose often-endearing brashness bubbled to the surface many times last season. Between that group, all it will take to provide a week’s worth of headlines is one on-field tantrum, one off-field rant or one non-team sanctioned interview.
Dorsey has never been afraid of drama, largely due to his unflinching belief in himself and the importance of stacking talent in a results-driven league.
“I think it gives you … a sense of belief [about winning] based off of individual talent,” Dorsey said.
If any franchise could use a sense of belief about victory, it’s the Browns, who haven’t had a winning season since 2007.