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David Njoku: I want to be with the Browns long term

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The Browns entered 2019 with ridiculously high expectations and failed to live up to them. This year, they have more modest expectations and could very well live up to them.

Browns General Manager Andrew Berry was taken aback by David Njoku’s trade request earlier this summer. Njoku later rescinded the request, and the tight end said Tuesday he wants to remain with the team long term.

“I’m just speaking on today, now,” Njoku said, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “I’m not saying this is my last year here. . . . I want to be here long term.”

An earlier interview cast doubt on that as did his trade request. Njoku was asked Tuesday whether he wanted the trade.

“I’m a Cleveland Brown for the time being and I’ll leave it at that,” Njoku said.

The Browns picked up Njoku’s fifth-year option for 2021 at more than $6 million.

New coach Kevin Stefanski plans to use a two tight end heavy scheme with Austin Hooper and Njoku. The Browns signed Hooper to a four-year, $42 million deal this offseason that made him the highest-paid tight end at the time.

“I believe Austin and I have talent that not many tight ends have,’' Njoku said.

In three seasons, Njoku has 93 catches for 1,066 yards and nine touchdowns. He spent time on injured reserve last season after breaking his wrist and being diagnosed with a concussion in Week Two, playing only four games.

In case anyone doubts his loyalty, Njoku said he’s only concerned about this season, and this season, he is giving his all to the Browns.

“I love the fans,’' Njoku said. “The Cleveland Browns fans are amazing, probably second to none. With that being said, this is a business. . . . I’m still here, and I’m excited to be a Cleveland Brown.”