The NFL is a business and you can count Oliver Vernon as someone that is well aware of that.
The second-year pro had his first season with the Cleveland Browns marred by injuries.
At one point, the former Pro Bowl pass-rusher thought he was going to be out of Cleveland when the team was interested in former Seattle Seahawk Jadeveon Clowney.
The former No. 1 overall pick remains unsigned, partially due to the Browns investing in Vernon this season.
For the first time since the rumors, Vernon has spoken out on the saga.
“When it comes to the NFL, it is a business. I understand that business aspect of it. Everything in the offseason had to get sorted out. I kept in communication with the coaches and GM trying to figure out everything that was going on. And then just staying ready, trying to get healthy and everything like that,” Vernon said, via cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. “Those guys brought in a lot of good coaches in and a lot of talent. They are trying to make something happen this year. For them to have me apart of it says that they want me here and I’m glad to be here. Now it’s time to get to work.”
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) August 17, 2020
The Hunt For Clowney
Over the course of six NFL seasons, Clowney has 32 sacks, 80 quarterback hits, 252 pressures, and three trips to the Pro Bowl.
Last season, Clowney was hampered with an injury that limited him to 13 games, which explains why his numbers were down.
In 2019, Clowney recorded 31 tackles, 3.0 sacks, four forced fumbles, 13 quarterback hits, and 47 pressures.
👀🏈 He’s a Free Agent… pic.twitter.com/l8UX0zBghb
— SeahawksUnited (@SeahawksUnited_) July 28, 2020
The Browns were one of three teams interested in Clowney but his asking price was too high.
Eventually, the Browns bowed out of the race.
Report: Jadeveon Clowney turned down big offer from Browns https://t.co/fWOgyp3yN6
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) May 27, 2020
The Browns will press forward as training camp has recently started.
The Browns are projected to finish with 8.5 wins on the season after a major offseason haul after going 6-10 last year.
If the Browns can surpass that number, it will mark the first time since 2007 that the Browns finished with a winning record.
After falling far below expectations, Vernon claimed that the Browns learned their lesson.
“I think it was a lesson to a lot of guys in the locker room last year,” Vernon said. “Especially how long the season is, the type of competition we have in our division. It’s always going to be a battle. Week in and week out, you gotta bring it, no matter what.”