'I'm here for a reason': Elijah Moore wants to put 'best foot forward' with Browns

New York Jets wide receiver Elijah Moore makes a catch with pressure from Detroit Lions cornerback Jerry Jacobs in the second half, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022.
New York Jets wide receiver Elijah Moore makes a catch with pressure from Detroit Lions cornerback Jerry Jacobs in the second half, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022.

Elijah Moore's time with the New York Jets seemed to be ticking down the moment he had a public outburst last year with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. It came to an end on Wednesday, when the Browns acquired him in exchange for their second-round pick.

For the Browns, it's the opportunity to add a talented young receiver to their offense. For Moore, it's a chance to reshape the direction in which his NFL career, which is only two years old, is going with a new team.

Scroll to continue with content

"I can't predict the future, but I'm going to put my best foot forward," Moore said Thursday during his introductory Zoom call. "I feel like I'm here for a reason, so whatever happens, I'm going to be ready for it. People go through things and you got to learn from it. I feel like I'm the type of person that learns from my mistakes. ... We're all human, so I'm just going to try to do what I feel like I could've done better last year in whatever position I'm going to be in now."

The outburst with LaFleur a year ago came after a Week 6 win over the Green Bay Packers in which he did not have a single target. That led to Moore being inactive as a disciplinary measure the following week against the Denver Broncos, followed by two more games where he didn't get targeted.

Browns land receiver Elijah Moore:Cleveland Browns acquire receiver Elijah Moore, third-round pick from the New York Jets

Moore, in retrospect, doesn't back down from the principle behind his words.


"I wouldn't take anything back," Moore said. "Would I have worded some things differently? Yes, but not take anything back. My heart was always in the right spot. I never move without intention. I'm very intentional. So especially in a positive way. And I always move with respect. So if that's my intentions, I don't have nothing to regret."

Moore finished with 37 catches and 446 yards and one touchdown on 65 targets in 16 games last season. While the number of games he played in went up from the 11 he played as a rookie second-round pick out of Ole Miss the year before, every other stat dropped from a 43-catch, 538-yard, five-TD, 77-target 2021 campaign.

Part of Moore's problem was the same thing as the Jets' problem overall, which was quarterback. They started four different one — Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco, Mike White and Chris Streveler — during the 2022 season, after starting three and playing four the year before.


Follow the Browns' offseason moves:Cleveland Browns free agency/trade tracker: WR Elijah Moore acquired from New York Jets

"So I grew up in Florida and I feel like we have the mindset of kind of it doesn't matter who's back there (at quarterback)," Moore said. "So I kind of had to shift that a little bit because it does as far as chemistry. But man, if you put yourself in a position to throw with anybody and just put your trust in them — cause that's initially what it is, it really is trust — so if you trust them and they trust you, you can kind of can get anything done. So man, going through four quarterbacks I feel like was just a huge blessing for me because I got to see what that's like."

Moore doesn't believe dealing with multiple quarterbacks is going to be an issue as he arrives with the Browns. Deshaun Watson has been given the keys to the offense, having served his 11-game suspension for NFL personal conduct policy violations last season.

Part of doing that is surrounding Watson with plenty of weapons. A year ago, the Browns tried unsuccessfully to do that by attempting to acquire Moore at the trade deadline.


A week into the new league year, Watson was finally given another passing target. That target wasted no time trying to get to know his latest — and he hopes, potentially, last — quarterback.

"I spoke to him yesterday," Moore said. "I'm super excited. He's a legit quarterback. It's someone that has been doing some amazing things around the league. He has respect from everybody around the league. They talk really highly about him here and they believe in him and man, with him being my quarterback, I believe in him too. So, I'm just grateful to be one of his guys."

Moore, though, isn't the only one who's going to be Watson's guy. The Browns already have Amari Cooper well-established as their No. 1 receiver, while Donovan People-Jones is coming off a breakthrough third season a season ago.

That doesn't even consider tight ends David Njoku, fresh off arguably his best all-around season, and newly-signed Jordan Akins, Watson's former Houston Texans teammate. It also doesn't take running back Nick Chubb into account.


"Yeah, I feel like it's like 7-on-7 all over again," Moore said. "You get to feed off each other's energy. I feel like when you can do that, the game's going to start flowing. So I'm super excited. I feel like it's good to have a whole bunch of great pieces around."

None of those, maybe, more than Cooper. The veteran receiver is a South Florida native like Moore, who acknowledged he grew up studying his new teammate.

"Yeah, man, that's probably, I'm most excited about that and Deshaun," Moore said. "Being in a room with a vet, someone who understands this and not just football but life. I'm just eager to pick his brain."

Contact Chris at ceasterling@thebeaconjournal.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingABJ

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Elijah Moore eyes fresh start with Browns after trade from Jets