Saturday, February 24

From a Pee Wee field to an NFL playoff chase: How Joe Flacco got ready for his Browns minute

  • Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff WriterDec 28, 2023, 06:00 AM ET

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      Jake Trotter covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN. He signed up with ESPN in 2011 covering college football. Before that, he operated at The Oklahoman, Austin American-Statesman and Middletown (Ohio) Journal papers. You can follow him on Twitter @Jake_Trotter.

BEREA, Ohio– Twice a week, Joe Flacco fulfilled his sibling and father on a Pee Wee grass field with an opened gate simply a couple miles far from their homes in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

Their routine started with tossing a heavy baseball, 10 ounces much heavier than a typical one. Changing to a football, Joe and his sibling, Tom, would put their father, Steve, around the field to replicate getting paths. While capturing passes, Steve, who used gloves to keep his hands from stinging, would summarize the NFL weekend that was, which apparently constantly included a significant quarterback injury.

“You’re discussing that previous Sunday, the guys who decreased, and we’re like, ‘Has anyone connected? They got to have called you, right?” Tom remembered. “And Joe’s like, ‘Nah, nobody’s called me.’ And it’s like, ‘What the hell?'”

As the weeks passed, Joe kept awaiting that call to play in the NFL once again. Still, Joe, his daddy and his sibling kept satisfying up to toss and assist keep Joe’s huge best arm all set. Often they went up until their arms got tired. Other days they needed to call it early to ferret out Tom’s young child kid, Joseph, who would stray to a neighboring field on his toy bike.

In mid-November, Joe got that call. The quarterback-needy Cleveland Browns wished to fly him in for an exercise following a season-ending shoulder injury to starter Deshaun Watson. Joe, Tom and Steve fulfilled to toss one last time before Joe boarded a flight from Philadelphia to Cleveland that night.

“You might inform he was thrilled he had this chance,” Tom stated. “That was cool to see. Like, all right, this is sweet.”

A little over a month later on, Joe unbelievably has actually moved the Browns to the edge of their very first postseason look given that 2020. Thursday night, Cleveland (10-5) can clinch a playoff berth in its regular-season home ending versus the New York Jets (8:15 p.m. ET, Prime).

“We’re simply delighted as s–, as you can picture,” Steve stated. “We wish to see those Cleveland fans win, infant. And we’re extremely pleased of the company for bringing him in.”

Given that he took control of at quarterback for the Browns in Week 13, Joe leads the NFL with 1,307 passing lawns. Before that, while turning in between Watson, PJ Walker and novice Dorian Thompson-Robinson at quarterback, Cleveland had actually ranked 28th in passing.

Unexpectedly, the Browns have actually won 3 in a row. Joe, on the other hand, who turns 39 next month, ended up being the third-oldest quarterback behind Tom Brady and Warren Moon to pass for more than 300 backyards in 3 successive video games,

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