T.J. Ward is well aware Sunday could be the last game he’ll play as a Cleveland Brown.
Ward and Mack have had solid seasons -- Ward said he thinks he's had a Pro Bowl type season -- and Lauvao fought back from a preseason ankle injury to start the past 11 games. Ward said it’s impossible to block out the fact his future is uncertain after the game.
“I've spent four years here and I’ve given a lot to this team, the city and they've given a lot to me,” Ward said. “You can't completely block it out.”
None of the four have played for a team that has won. In every season they've been with the Browns, the team has lost at least 11 games.
Yet Ward said he'd love to stay.
“I think we have the pieces here to win and that's what I’m looking forward to,” he said.
At the same time, free agency allows a player to maximize his earnings, and even have a say in where he plays.
“It’s an opportunity," Ward said. “An opportunity I haven’t had. It’s exciting, kind of, but who knows.”
If past is precedent, the Browns may not make a great effort after the season to sign any of the three. Joe Banner let Brian Dawkins leave for Philadelphia, and he's never seemed inclined to pay a lot of money for players at the positions these three play.
It’s interesting. The Browns have a lot of needs to fill, and if they don’t sign Ward and/or Mack (Lauvao seems more or less gone) they'll have created other holes.
“I want to play in the playoffs here, I want to bring this city a championship,” Ward said. “I’ve been doing everything in my power to help this team win so I definitely want to see that through.”
There’s no doubt Ward means it.
But if players can do anything quickly, it’s turn the page.
It happens every offseason.