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Cleveland Browns rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah: 'My heart is 100% healthy'

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Rookie linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah insisted Friday there is nothing wrong with his heart that will interfere with his NFL career.

"My heart is 100% healthy," he said Friday via Zoom during Browns rookie minicamp. "You can see that going through the protocol, going through the tests, going through the EKGs and going through the past MRIs and things like that. It's not an issue. It's not something I'm worried about."

Owusu-Koramoah had widely been projected to become a first-round draft pick, but the former University of Notre Dame star fell to the second round, and the Browns traded up seven spots to select him 52nd overall on April 30.

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A mask can’t hide the talent of Notre Dame rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
A mask can’t hide the talent of Notre Dame rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

Three days after Owusu-Koramoah had been picked by the Browns, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported a heart issue had been discovered as teams gathered medical information in the buildup to the draft, concerning clubs and contributing to the prospect sliding down the board.

Owusu-Koramoah said the report was "based on something that's not necessarily 100% true." He said something had been detected with his heart during NFL medical evaluations in Indianapolis ahead of the draft, though he was later cleared by doctors.

"It starts from something that really was based on the combine and some of their testing and what they saw," Owusu-Koramoah said. "But we have doctors here in the Cleveland Browns [organization] that I was just speaking to yesterday in terms of those same [medical] reports that [doctors before] the draft saw. The reports look fine. The EKGs look fine."

Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (6) will play a big role in trying to limit Clemson’s offense.
Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (6) will play a big role in trying to limit Clemson’s offense.

General Manager Andrew Berry insisted during and after the draft the Browns have no medical concerns about Owusu-Koramoah, labeling him “completely healthy” in a series of radio interviews May 4.

Owusu-Koramoah also addressed Schefter's report May 4 during an interview with the Jim Rome Show.

"You get a lot of news within the draft and the process," Owusu-Koramoah said. "There was something that came up in terms of what guys were saying, but in terms of me, in terms of the personal aspect, there was no really heart issues at all.

"We went back to Notre Dame. We looked at the medical records and everything. I never really had any heart issues or anything going on there. You hear a lot of things, but you've got to get it from the source."

Owusu-Koramoah said Friday he believes the way some teams viewed information about his heart is among the reasons he slipped to the 20th pick of the second round. He alluded to another factor: He played a hybrid linebacker, safety, nickelback position at Notre Dame. At 6-foot-1½ and 221 pounds, he isn't as big as a traditional NFL linebacker because he isn't one. Yet the Browns view him as an ideal weakside linebacker in their system, and he said his usage will be similar to what it was at Notre Dame.

"I think a lot of things went into play, a lot of possibilities, I would say," Owusu-Koramoah said of dropping in the draft. "Some teams may have had already picks locked in. Some teams may have not knew how to use me in their system. Some teams may have looked at the heart situation and just went off of that. So there's a lot of possibilities when you talk about a team not really taking you, whether they think something is going on.

"I believe in those draft rooms there's a lot of second-guessing, there's a lot of even third-guessing. It's like, 'I don't know. This and that.' Especially in the first round being able to pick somebody for four years [with a fifth-year] option, something that you're really locked in on."

Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (6) was named the top linebacker in college football by the Butkus Award on Monday.
Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (6) was named the top linebacker in college football by the Butkus Award on Monday.

Was it difficult for Owusu-Koramoah to remain encouraged during his fall in the draft?

"I don't think it was hard to stay positive, just because I know the work that I put in, just because I know my talent, I know how hard I work," he said. "I know what I deserve. Whether the teams think that, whether other people think that, that's up to them to decide. But all I needed was an opportunity. That's what I had envisioned in my mind."

Owusu-Koramoah, 21, said he doesn't want to use other people's perceptions about the condition of his heart as motivation.

"What round I go in, I can't control that. How I react to the situation, I can control that," he said. "The heart thing going out in the reports, I can't control that. But how I react to that, I can. That's something I'm really keying in on, just how I react to certain things, not allowing them to get to me.

"When you're motivated by the external things, those things can fade away. So whether that report is out there, it'll fade away soon. Whether the second round is out there, it'll fade away soon. A lot of great people in the NFL were [drafted in] worse rounds than me. Some people went [undrafted]. So I just really key in on the things that I can control."

In the end, Owusu-Koramoah thinks he ended up where he belongs. He actually grew up a Browns fan despite hailing from Virginia. He latched onto the team because of its colors.

"I like orange and brown, honestly," he said.

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This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Browns rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah: 'My heart is 100% healthy'