At what point do you start feeling sorry for Hue Jackson? If you’re a member of the Cleveland Browns, it doesn’t appear to be time yet. Many players took umbrage to the fact that their former head coach chose to join one of their division rivals in the middle of the season after he was fired, even if it was with the Cincinnati Bengals, with whom he had already served multiple stints.
It wasn’t so long after first rejoining the Bengals that Jackson would face his old team, and the Browns would go on to embarrass him. safety Damarious Randall even intercepted a pass right near him on Cincinnati’s sideline and mockingly handed him the ball. Jackson just haplessly patted him on the head and thanked him for the ball.
Now his other safety, second-year Jabrill Peppers, is “looking forward to kicking his ass again”, according to Cleveland.com.
“You can’t really get your feelings too involved or too hurt or feel any way about anything”, the former first-round pick said. “He’s the ultimate competitor. I knew he wasn’t going to stay away from the game long. I know how it looks, but he’s the ultimate competitor. He just wanted to be a part of the game and when the opportunity arises, he couldn’t turn it down. So I have no ill-will towards him”.
He added that he’s “thankful for everything he taught me. Thankful that he brought me here – but still looking forward to kicking his ass again”.
Speaking of Peppers, he is coming off one of the biggest games of his career in a win over the Denver Broncos that has the Browns 6-7-1 and retaining an opportunity to actually post a winning record for the first time since 2007. To do that, they only have to get through the Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens.
Peppers had six tackles on Sunday to go along with a key interception in the end zone and a sack on the final offensive play of the game for the Broncos that sealed the victory. It was, in fact, the first sack of his career, and just his second interception. His first interception came against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2017 regular season finale against Landry Jones.
As a reminder, the Browns went 3-36-1 under Jackson over the course of two and a half seasons. Interim head coach Gregg Williams has his team out to 4-2 so far with two more winnable games to close out the season, and Baker Mayfield has thrown at least one touchdown in each of his 11 starts.