Jackson names Taylor as Browns starter


Former Bills QB will open 2018 season behind center

Associated Press

CLEVELAND

Call him mobile, dynamic, proven or Buffalo’s former quarterback. Don’t dare label Tyrod Taylor anything else.

In his first official appearance since coming to Cleveland, Taylor, who ended the Bills’ long playoff drought last season, was asked if he could be a one-year stopgap or “bridge” quarterback while the Browns develop a young QB.

No chance.

“I don’t necessarily view myself as a bridge quarterback,” he said. “I’m a quarterback. As far as a bridge, hopefully I’m helping bridge this team to a Super Bowl. And that’s the plan.”

Taylor was introduced along with Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry and cornerback Damarious Randall as the Browns rolled out new faces on their roster following a whirlwind of trades and free-agent signings.

It was another significant day in a recent string of them lately for a team trying to crawl out from the rubble of a historic 0-16 season and projecting a positive image.

As for the Browns’ plans with the 28-year-old Taylor, who went 22-21 as a starter in three seasons with Buffalo, coach Hue Jackson made it clear that even if Cleveland selects a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft that the depth chart is already set.

“He is going to be the starting quarterback,” Jackson said. “There is no competition.”

With their overhaul in full swing under new general manager John Dorsey, the Browns officially signed seven free agents, including running back Carlos Hyde and Chris Hubbard and Donald Stephenson, a pair of tackles who can help the club’s transition after star left tackle Joe Thomas retired on Wednesday to end a Hall of Fame career.

The Browns also finalized deals with cornerback T.J. Carrie, tight end Darren Fells, defensive back Terrance Mitchell and defensive end Chris Smith.

Dorsey also made another trade — his fifth in less than a week — by sending cornerback Jason McCourty and a 2018 seventh-round pick (No. 219 overall) to the New England Patriots for a 2018 sixth-round pick (No. 205 overall).

McCourty started 14 games in one season with Cleveland.

Dorsey called the recent wave of activity “just the first phase” in rebuilding the Browns, who have gone 4-44 over the past three seasons. Talent has been brought in to Cleveland, and like so many GMs and coaches before him, Dorsey said there is a feeling of renewal.

“You can feel a certain energy in the building,” he said. “That is what I always like about this period when new guys come in here and guys are really excited to be here and I really appreciate that.

“Until those guys come together in training camp and the OTA sessions because every team’s identity is different year in and year out. Just meeting those guys today, I can understand that they are going to help us and help us achieve our ultimate goals.”

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