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.
Ebenezer Ekuban wasn’t in Cleveland quite long enough to really miss the city when he departed — and the fact that he notched a career-high in sacks during his lone season with the Browns demonstrates that he maximized his opportunities in a Cleveland uniform, even as the team lurched to a 4-12 finish in his only season there.
“I didn’t leave there on bad terms,” Ekuban said, citing the fact that he was traded, as a part of the deal that also shipped Michael Myers to Denver while sending running back Reuben Droughns to the Browns. “But still, any time you go against a past team or former teammates that you had, you always want to prove them wrong.”
He certainly felt that way last year when he went back to Texas Stadium to face the Cowboys, the team that picked him the first round of the 1999 draft after a standout four-year stint at North Carolina.
“It adds a lot of juice for me,” Ekuban said in the days leading up to last year’s Thanksgiving win at Dallas. “I think I could be seven, six, five years removed from Dallas or Cleveland. If we should face Cleveland next year, it will be extra juice. If we face Dallas next year, it has extra juice. I think that’s just human nature.”
And even though his Cleveland days ended amicably, he feels exactly as he expected he would.
“That’s human nature,” he said Wednesday.
But he also understands he must not let it overcome him.
“I’m going to approach it as it was any other game,” he said. “I know there’s extra emotion that’s going to be there for me, but if I look at it like it wasn’t any other game I wouldn’t be ready to play.”