In a world that prides itself on its abekas, it’s a bit hard to believe that the NFL would even consider this approach.
But when the Cleveland Browns drafted rookie linebacker Kony Ealy in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, many in the media were taken aback.
“I can’t wait to get to work with him,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said of Ealy, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“He’s going to be an impact player for us.”
“I’m excited to have Kony back, and I’m excited for the kids, too,” he continued.
“When you think about the impact he’s going do on our football team, and how he’s bringing so much love to the facility, it makes a lot of sense.”
And yet, the Browns were reluctant to even let Ealy walk into their facility.
“We were very hesitant to let him play football,” Browns safety Jabrill Peppers said, per ESPN.
“Because we were scared he might get hurt, or hurt himself.”
Ealy didn’t let it stop him, though.
When he finally got his first NFL snap, he was able to make an impact.
“It was great,” Ealy said.
“You never know.
You just gotta have faith.
If I can help out, then that’s great.”
“You can’t expect something from your own kids, so we were very careful,” Jackson said.
But then the Browns decided to give Ealy another shot.
“That was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my career,” Ealkins said.
When Ealy finally returned to the field, he played well enough to earn another start and earn the first All-Pro nod.
He made it a point to bring up the importance of a good abeka.
“The kids, the parents, they all need to understand the value of the abeka,” Eale said.
The Cleveland Browns selected Ealy with the 27th pick of the draft.
“This is a huge step forward for Kony and his family,” Browns general manager Ray Farmer said.
Ealy was drafted by the Browns as a linebacker but didn’t have much experience playing on the defensive line, so he took over as the team’s starting nose tackle, a role he was comfortable with.
“Coach Jackson and his staff had an understanding that Kony’s skills and the fact that he was a player that can play nose tackle are what are really important to us,” Eales said.
Kony is a two-time All-American at LSU, a four-time Pro Bowler at Alabama and a fourtime Pro Bowl selection.
But he was also the first pick in the 2017 draft for the New Orleans Saints.
After a disappointing rookie season, Ealy has had a stellar career.
“Kony is definitely going to become a cornerstone of our defense,” said Ealy.
“So he’s gonna be a big part of that defense.
The first thing that we’re trying to do is build an offensive line around him, so when we’re able to sign him to a long-term contract, I think he’s a tremendous asset for us moving forward.”
“We are going to make sure that Kys and his kids have a lot more opportunities to learn, so that’s something we’re going to do for the next couple years,” Jackson added.
So you never know, maybe he can get injured. “
What Kony brings to the table is obviously a lot, but he’s also an individual who loves to have a good time.
So you never know, maybe he can get injured.
He’s always ready to work hard, be ready for whatever comes up.”