CLEVELAND — The Browns have made it two guards in two days, signing 3-time Pro-Bowler left guard Joel Bitonio to a three-year extension one day after extending Wyatt Teller.
Bitonio, a 2014 second-round pick, started his career with the Browns and has been an integral piece of the team’s offense. He and Teller are both locked in through the 2025.
“I've been here for eight years now and seen a lot of ups and downs. To be part of that and for the team to have faith in me and allow me to be here for my entire career, it really means a lot. It's special,” Bitonio said. “You see guys switch teams a lot and go from team to team, great players in this league. I saw Joe Thomas end his career here. It's something when you get into Year 8 and Year 9, it gets in the back of your mind where it'd be really special to be in Cleveland your whole career and try to win a championship with these guys."
Bitonio, 30, has made 104 regular-season starts, the second-most by any Browns player since the team’s return in 1999. He hasn’t missed a single snap since the start of 2017 season. He has been key to the offense and has helped clear the way for record-setting runs by Nick Chubb and helped protect quarterback Baker Mayfield.
“After last season, we decided that one of our major football priorities would be to make Joel Bitonio a Brown for the rest of his career,” said Andrew Berry, Cleveland’s executive VP of Football Operations and general manager. “Joel is one of our most decorated players and is the ideal personification of our ‘Tough, Smart, Accountable’ mantra. We value Joel’s high-level performance, leadership, consistency and durability."
Bitonio has really shined over the past three seasons. He made the Pro Bowl and earned second-team All-Pro recognition in each of those seasons.
“Joel Bitonio is everything you’d ever want in a football player,” said Browns coach Kevin Stefanski in a news release. “We always know exactly what we are going to get from Joel every rep, every practice, every game. His consistent effort, exceptional play, and team-first mentality make him a great teammate and truly a perfect example for every player that will ever wear brown and orange for the Cleveland Browns. Handing Joel a game ball in the locker room last year when we clinched a spot in playoffs will be a career highlight for me. Joel deserved that moment because of all the hard work and effort he puts into this organization. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to coach Joel. Congrats to him and his family, this contract is so well-deserved.”
With Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jack Conklin in tackle positions and veteran JC Tretter at center, the offensive line will continue to be solid.
“I've got a lot of good friends on the O-line, and it's guys who work hard and love the game of football and are passionate about the Cleveland Browns,” Bitonio said. “We want to run the ball, we want to protect Baker and take our shots downfield. There's sometimes a lack of good linemen in the league, so to get five, six, seven good ones on a team, it's really nice to have that depth and hopefully we can keep the guys together for as many years as possible.”
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