Between now and game time, I’ll use this space to focus on each of the six former Browns on the 53-man roster who will return to Cleveland this Sunday.
If Chad Mustard holds any ill will towards the Browns for casting him aside two years ago, he doesn’t let it show. The way he views it, it was the Browns that gave him an opportunity to show his skills, plucking him from the Omaha Beef of the National Indoor Football League after watching a tape he sent around pro football.
“I sent a tape out to all the teams, and one of their scouts finally got through it and said, ‘Hey, this guy might be able to play,’ and gave me a chance,” Mustard recalled.
First, he had to demonstrate his abilities in person.
“When I went from the Beef to the Browns, I had a workout with Pittsburgh in September (2002), and then a workout with (the Browns) in November, and they signed me to the practice squad a week later, so that’s how it all started,” Mustard recalled.
Cleveland signed him on Dec. 4, then allocated him to the Rhein Fire of the NFL Europe League for the following spring — an experience he still carries with him, evidenced by the Fire team-issue sweats he brandished when we caught up with him this week. The Browns then stuck with him as he converted from offensive line to tight end.
“They originally signed me to be a lineman and changed their mind a couple of weeks into it,” Musard said. “I originally wore 65 my whole first year on the practice squad.”
“It was a transitional period for me. It took me a long time into my second full year where I (adjusted) to the level of football I was playing.”
Eventually, the Browns released him, but the opportunity was one Mustard regards without regret.
“They gave me a chance, and if I wouldn’t have been there, I probably wouldn’t be here,” he said.