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Justin Gilbert: Being deactivated for 2014 finale “really helped me”

Justin Gilbert

AP

Cornerback Justin Gilbert’s rookie season didn’t go the way the Browns planned as the 2014 first-round pick struggled on and off the field before ultimately being deactivated for the team’s final game of the season.

Gilbert heard criticism from coaches and teammates about his immaturity and said Thursday that he agreed with “100 percent” of it. He said that he “took that to heart” as he started his offseason work in hopes of a better showing in his second season.

“I wish [the deactivation] hadn’t happened that way,” Gilbert said, via ESPN.com. “But I think it really helped me. I think last year pretty much humbled me. A lot.”

Gilbert has gained muscle to go with his humility and the reports of his work the last few months from Browns players and coaches have been uniformly positive. He added that the team’s talked about letting him return kickoffs, something he did well at Oklahoma State, and that could be part of a rebound for a player the Browns hope just needed a dose of NFL reality to reach his potential.