There were a lot of things that didn’t feel right about the Cleveland Browns‘ 2021 football season.
Whether it was locker room tension, injuries, or more losses than wins, it was a season they should put behind them.
And in at least one room of the team’s Berea headquarters, players feel like things are already back to normal.
#Browns announce RB coach Stump Mitchell is returning to the team in 2022 after dealing with a medical issue in 2021.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 8, 2022
Running game coordinator and running backs coach Stump Mitchell is there to lead his group into the new season.
And to hear the players talk about it with ABC News5’s Camryn Justice, his presence is greatly appreciated.
“We missed him a lot. It didn’t feel right going into the meetings and not seeing Coach Stump talking to me Nick and D’Ernest and the other guys—it was different,” said Kareem Hunt. “We’re used to having Stump there and hearing his knowledge. Y’all don’t really know this but Coach Stump, he brings the juice.”
Mitchell, nicknamed “the Wizard” by Nick Chubb, missed the final 10 games last year.
He worked with a great deal of pain before undergoing two surgical procedures on his previously-repaired knee.
He Was Never Completely Gone
Mitchell is a throwback coach with 50 years of playing and coaching experience.
At first glance, he doesn’t seem like the prototypical analytics guy Kevin Stefanski would lean on.
But Mitchell earned the respect that made him a rare holdover from Freddie Kitchens’ staff.
Last season was his longest-ever stretch away from the sidelines and the first games he missed as a coach.
— Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) November 17, 2021
But he did his best to remain in the ears of Cleveland’s running backs and his assistant coaches.
Whether it was Zoom meetings, text messages, or even phone calls, he continued to reach out to his charges.
Despite his doctors’ stern advice, Mitchell couldn’t resist making an appearance or two during his recovery.
His efforts to come in on a walker and crutches only endeared him more to the players.
What’s In Store For 2022?
Mitchell still can’t move as fluidly as he would like, and he continues to receive daily therapy.
But he was back on the field sans crutches or walkers for the Browns OTAs and minicamp.
And like the rest of us, he can’t wait for training camp to start.
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) May 13, 2022
He recently talked about his running backs with Justice.
And it sounds like his basic running back philosophy reflects his own playing career:
“We’re asking them all pretty much to do the same thing—be productive in whatever role that may be. We’re a wide zone team so stretch the plays before looking for a cutback. If they’re a blocker or a pass receiver, we’re asking them to get the job done. So they’re working to be able to accomplish these things in the fall.”
Mitchell had good things to say about the newest addition to his running back room, Jerome Ford.
The coach called him a great runner and said he expects Ford to bring the same intensity and abilities as his peers.