Linebacker Anthony Walker joined the Browns last offseason after spending the first four years of his career with the Colts.
Cleveland was coming off its best season in decades and had high hopes for 2021. But things obviously did not work out for the club, as it finished 8-9, good for third place in the AFC North.
One factor in how the season played out may have been a lack of connectedness as a team. That’s at least how Walker sees it entering 2022, which already has a different vibe.
“I’ll be completely honest, when I was in Indy, I thought that we established that culture there,” Walker said this week, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “And when I came here, it was a little different. And I’m starting to feel what I felt in Indy when I was there. Just the brotherhood that we had, all the guys coming together, the team camaraderie.”
Walker added that the team was “a little standoffish” last year, which he understood given the nature of professional football. The COVID-19 restrictions — like having spaced-out locker rooms — didn’t help.
“But to be a great team you’ve got to have that camaraderie,” Walker said, “you’ve got to have that team mindset because when you go through the dark days, sometimes you may lose or the dog days of camp, the dog days of this grind and minicamp and everything like that, you need that team brotherhood, that team bond to keep bringing you together, and I’m glad that we’re building that.”
Much of the Browns’ success in 2022 will likely hinge on quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s availability, as even if he’s not suspended he could be placed on paid leave. But at least for now, the team is building some positive momentum as it ends the offseason program.