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Alex Mack: Cleveland Browns going in right direction

KAHUKU, OAHU, HAWAII -- BrownsPro Bowl center Alex Mack could very well be done in Cleveland, labeled by one area reporter as a "lost cause" with a potential opt-out looming this offseason.

But here in Hawaii, he was thankful for the opportunity to detach and watch the situation play out from afar. Mack, a former first-round pick, will be a hot commodity if he hits the open market this March and he will be thought of as a savior if he returns to Cleveland alongside fellow Pro Bowler Joe Thomas. Mack was previously on the record as saying that 'winning is important to me' when selecting his next step.

"I mean, it was good to leave the season, take some time off and let that all shake out," Mack told Around The NFL on Thursday. "Really happy they got everything handled early and they found their guy. They're getting a staff together quickly. It's going in the right direction."

Mack, who is playing in his third Pro Bowl on Sunday, seemed more at peace about his situation than ever. When asked if he talked to his teammates about the hiring of Paul DePodesta, Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson, Mack said that "after the season, I just took off. Let the dust kind of settle, refresh my mind and get ready for Hawaii."

"I think they've got good things going in the right places," Mack said.

The good news for Cleveland is that, for the first time in Mack's tenure, they might be able to make an enticing pitch. Jackson was arguably the most sought-after head coach on the market and came to Cleveland after transforming the Bengals' offense. He also seems eager to root out the dead weight on Cleveland's roster which has caused Mack and other veterans plenty of headaches.

Mack would also be playing for a team that put a pair of executives in place specifically to curb the constant dust-ups between coaching and management that have underscored the last 17 years of Browns football.

Still, it might be a leap of faith for a 30-year-old star looking to make the playoffs sooner rather than later.

Mack has more than a month to make his decision, and there's no telling if recent events have changed or influenced his thought process. For now, he's happy to be in Hawaii.

"This experience has been nice just because you get to be around guys you don't normally see," Mack said. "When you see these guys, you're playing against them and they're opponents and it's next week up mentality. This, it's nice to see people here with their families and friends. You get to relax and talk about your last season."

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