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Browns WR Anthony Schwartz's big game against Bucs helps pave way for development with Deshaun Watson

Anthony Schwartz
Posted at 3:01 PM, Nov 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-28 15:01:21-05

CLEVELAND — Anthony Schwartz has had a rollercoaster of a start to his NFL career riddled with moments that would shake any person, but that have slowly been shaping him into the kind of player he wants to be—and that the Browns are confident he can become.

Moving past the play in 2021 that saw Baker Mayfield intercepted on a route that appeared Schwartz didn't complete and resulted in Mayfield attempting a tackle that would tear his shoulder and change his career trajectory as we knew it—Schwartz was determined not to let that define him.

The receiver got to work during the offseason and hoped for a better 2022 debut. Then, the first preseason game happened. Schwartz dropped two on-target passes from quarterback Deshaun Watson, who took the field for the first time in orange and brown that night. After the game, Schwartz acknowledged it was "a pretty rough night," but mentioned moving past it and continuing the work.

On Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that work came to fruition. Schwartz got involved in the offense early, scoring his first career rushing touchdown in the opening drive on a reverse that allowed him to open up his incredible speed.

"It felt great. It just feels great getting the ball early, kind of just getting the ball in my hands and get a feel for the game," Schwartz said in the locker room after the Browns win. "I turned around the corner and saw Jacoby [Brissett] pancaking someone and Amari staying on his guy—just helped to make it easy really. I really got to give that touchdown to those two because without them, who knows what would have happened?"

While Schwartz is understating his role in the play, he had impact at other points in the game too that did not go without notice.

Like a big 17-yard reception in the fourth quarter that helped move the chains, although the Browns failed to score in that drive. Or more impactful, the massive special teams play Schwartz made in overtime as a gunner, tackling Bucs' returner Jaelon Darden before he could breakout for better field position, leading the defense to stop them. The Browns scored the winning touchdown on their next drive.

Schwartz's efforts Sunday were praised by head coach Kevin Stefanski.

"I'm glad you asked about Anthony because I'm really proud of him. I thought he had a really nice game yesterday. He helped us win, scoring early there on the reverse and then like you mentioned on special teams, he's doing a great job as our gunner. Making some huge plays for us in a field position game where we needed those plays, we needed that yardage in that game," Stefanski said. "Anthony played at a very high level. We have a ton of confidence in him and I think he'll continue to help this team win."

For Schwartz, he's happy to be used in any role he's needed for. Standing in front of his locker, his excitement and energy were palpable. Every answer came with a smile. The struggles he's worked through so far in his career are starting to turn into growth and development. That is something Schwartz, once again, deflects to his teammates and the confidence they've placed, and kept, in him.

"It's kind of great just doing something to be able to help the team win and just being able to contribute after the season that's been going on and just be able to keep that confidence up and I thank the team for keeping their confidence in me and continuing to let me get on the field and continue to give me the ball," Schwartz said.

Now, with Deshaun Watson back on the active roster and set to take over the starting quarterback position Sunday against the Houston Texans, Schwartz's production may see even more growth. Dating back to the spring when Watson first began practicing with the Browns, his connection with Schwartz was something of note and is the next thing Schwartz is ready to work on developing.

"Of course it's exciting getting a guy like Deshaun back and being able to build that connection we've had from all the way back in the spring to now," Schwartz said. "I think it'll be a great thing for me, great thing for him, great thing for the whole team."

RELATED: Browns QB Deshaun Watson officially reinstated from suspension, returns to active roster

Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.

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