Come get me.
What a phrase, a request, a desperate plea for freedom that is those three words. We first heard it uttered in the NFL last season, when disgruntled safety Earl Thomasasked the Dallas Cowboys to acquire him from the Seattle Seahawks. We heard it again in recent rumors describing Odell Beckham Jr. as unhappy in Cleveland.
NFL Network's Michael Silver reported per two sources as the Week 15 contest ended, "multiple" Browns players yelled toward the Arizona sideline to "come get me," including wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
The wideout could be seen voicing his opinions toward Browns coach Freddie Kitchens during the loss, a defeat filled with a familiar lack of execution and general frustration. With two games left, that frustration has finally hit its tipping point, it seems.
"I wouldn't change Jarvis for anything," Kitchens said Monday. "Jarvis plays the game with passion, which I love. He's tough, he's physical. He wants to win and when you want to win as badly as Jarvis does, sometimes your emotion gets the best of you. But I don't have a problem with Jarvis. He's one of my favorites, the way he plays the game, him as a person, everything."
Sure, Landry is fiery and passionate. Those qualities make him into the hard-nosed Pro Bowler that earned him a hefty contract after he was traded to Cleveland.
But the sentiment reportedly expressed by Landry and others is not good for anything associated with the Browns, chief among them Kitchens' job security. At 6-8, this season is officially a gigantic disappointment, and for a team stocked with such talent, it routinely underperforms. Add in locker room discontent and you're headed toward an organizational crossroad.
Kitchens told reporters Sunday he didn't care about his job status, but only about doing his job to the best of his abilities. Such tunnel vision got the Browns to 6-8 and can see them to 8-8 -- or 6-10, or 7-9. The latter two of those potential records guarantees nothing for Kitchens and also for many of the players he's coaching. That's why the future might be on their minds, especially after Sunday's loss made a path to the playoffs nearly impossible.
"I care about my job, I only care about getting better today," Kitchens said. "Of course I want to be back."
Browns fans will look back on 2019 and scratch their heads at what they witnessed. Their team beat the Ravens in resounding fashion in Baltimore, took down the Buffalo Bills and split with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but lost to Denver and Arizona, and needed to come back to beat Cincinnati at home. The only consistency with this squad is that it has been mostly average.
We'll see who makes it into 2020 in brown and orange.