BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns new safety Juan Thornhill got into town Friday and as he expressed his excitement to be here, his surprised reaction to seeing downtown and his anticipation to get to know his new teammates.
One of the first things Thornhill did was speak to his new—and the Browns new—defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. That conversation was one of the reasons Thornhill was so fired up Friday.
"We was up there talking, I would say maybe 30, 45 minutes or something like that, but he got me pumped up...Just talking a little bit about football, the scheme, how he sees me in the defense and he got me ready to go for sure," Thornhill said. "He drew up a couple plays on the board and I just liked what he was drawing up, but I can see me stepping in and playing a big role in helping his team tremendously and making a lot of plays for this team as well."
In order to do that, the Browns new safety is looking forward to getting to know his teammates.
The two-time Super Bowl champ who is coming to the Browns from the Kansas City Chiefs knows a little bit about team chemistry. For him, establishing bonds early is just as important as studying the game.
"What I'm going to do is just try to get to know my teammates a little bit more, know things that they like to do outside of football and so we can get together outside of football and just come together and build that brotherhood that's going to allow us to play better," Thornhill said. "That's going to make us more elite than any Xs and Os. You can study football all day, but if you don't know what your teammates strength and weaknesses are, you're not going to be good. So my main goal is just to get to know my teammates."
Talking the locker room, going out to dinner, enjoying each other's company—all things Thornhill hopes to achieve in the coming weeks.
In terms of that bonding, Thornhill also plans to take on a leadership role. The Browns struggled at times last season with vocal leadership and getting on the same page. Communication issues plagued the defense and as a result, the season suffered.
While Thornhill plans to lead more by example, the new Brown is not afraid to speak out and up to his teammates if there is an area for growth or improvement.
"I'm not that type of guy that's just going to be on the field yelling at everyone, telling them 'let's go push yourself.' I'm not that type of guy. I'm the one that's going to lead by example," Thornhill said. "But if you're not working hard, I will step up and say something. But I'm not going to be the guy that's going to put you on blast in front of the whole team. I'll come up to you personally and let you know."
As Thornhill gets acclimated with his team, he's also eager to check out the city he will now call home. Upon his arrival, Thornhill said he has been pleasantly surprised.
"It has impressed me. The facilities are truly amazing here," Thornhill said. "I got here last night actually and the first thing I looked at was downtown and it shocked me. It was really beautiful and I wasn't expecting that. So I'm excited to get here and actually be able to work my way around and see what everything's like."
Thornhill has several weeks to take in the sights and sounds of Northeast Ohio before work on the field begins. Then, his focus will shift to football and "working together so we can work towards our dream—and getting back to the Super Bowl."
Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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