BEREA, Ohio — After changing his representation last week, Browns tight end David Njoku said his mindset is clear and Cleveland is where he wants to be—instructing his new agent to push for a deal to keep him in orange and brown.
When asked if he wanted to remain with the Browns long-term, Njoku had a simple answer: "Of course."
"I've been here four years knocking on five, I don't really know anything different, so I'd like to stay here," Njoku explained.
Njoku fired his agent, Malki Kawa of First Round Management, last July, signing with mega-agent Drew Rosenhaus shortly after. But last week, Njoku fired Rosenhaus, returning to Kawa and First Round Management.
The decision to return to his previous representation, Njoku said, was partially fueled by his desire to re-sign with the Browns.
Njoku is set to become a free agent at the end of this season, but is hopeful that Kawa can work to get the tight end a new deal with the Browns.
Kawa had said when he made the announcement of Njoku's return to his firm that the reason was because Njoku had been promised things by Rosenhaus that were not delivered.
"Welcome back @David_Njoku!!! After being told and promised certain things, all of which weren’t true, my boy David Njoku decided he has had enough and came home. We welcome “CHIEF” back with open arms and I expect him to have the best year he’s ever had," Kawa wrote on Instagram, announcing Njoku's return to the agency.
"To all you college kids going through the recruitment process. There is no big bad wolf of agents. And no agent can “force” a team to do anything. The bigger you become, and the better you do, the better situations become. Don’t let these agents fool you," Kawa continued.
When Njoku signed with Rosenhaus, the mega-agent soon after announced Njoku wanted to be traded from the Browns. That trade never came to fruition and Njoku has since expressed his content in Cleveland, reiterating that on Friday before the team's joint practice with the New York Giants at the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus in Berea.
"We're going to leave last year in the past but what I can say is: I'm in a way positive mindset, a lot more positive this year. Just playing for myself, playing for my teammates, playing for the team—it's a lot easier to work hard that way," Njoku said.
The tight end has been impressive throughout training camp this year, making big plays and looking much-improved in his catches.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski praised Njoku's efforts after practice Thursday, noting his ability to create vertical separation from defenders, which bodes well for Baker Mayfield when searching for a target on the field in any given situation.
"Dave works really hard on his craft. It shows up in his run blocking, his pass blocking, his route running and his catching. I think he's an example of a guy that has been willing to work on his craft, and I think he's getting better,” Stefanski said. "Some of those tight ends I've been around over the years, just their sheer size, they're always open. You just have to go vertically up to go get the ball where you don't have to create separation horizontally in a lot of cases. Dave and [Austin Hooper] Hoop, our guys, I think they're very friendly targets for the quarterback.”
But despite the high praise, Njoku isn't satisfied and plans to continue to grow in his game, hoping to impress enough to land him that new contract with the Browns at the end of the season.
"I appreciate those compliments but I don't see myself as anywhere near finished of working, so I'm just going to continue to work every day," Njoku said. "Working every day to see how far it goes."
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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