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Case Keenum opens up about role with Browns

Case Keenum, Browns

The Cleveland Browns were not signaling the start of a quarterback controversy when they signed veteran quarterback Case Keenum to a three-year deal, and Keenum himself was not anticipating he would challenge for the starting role under center.

But while Keenum might be slotting into a backup role, he is still excited to help mentor Baker Mayfield and establish a rapport with the former No. 1 pick (via Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk):

Upon signing his three-year, $18 million deal to be a backup, Keenum said he was impressed with how quickly Mayfield embraced him.

“Baker reached out as soon as the news broke, which really meant a lot to me,” Keenum said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him for what he’s done on the field and off the field, too. First and foremost, I know my role coming in. That’s another great positive for me. I’m going to be ready to play. I feel like I’ve played at a high level for the last three years.”

Of course, moving to the bench will still be an adjustment for Keenum. He started in at least eight games in each of the past four seasons, including in 2017 when he led the Minnesota Vikings to an 11-3 record and an NFC Championship appearance.

Although the Washington Redskins went just 1-7 with Keenum under center last season, he actually posted the second-highest completion percentage and quarterback rating of his career.

Mayfield is the present and the future in Cleveland, but Keenum gives the Browns a steady veteran presence for Baker to lean on moving forward while also having the capability to step in and play at a high level, if necessary.