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TJ Ward: Cleveland Browns ‘offered me nothing’

TJ WardSafety T.J. Ward signed with the Denver Broncos in free agency this month, but switching teams came as a surprise to him.

Ward, who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the second round in 2010, said in an interview Thursday that he thought he’d be back with his former team, but it became clear that the new regime that took over didn’t want him back.

“I didn’t think I’d be gone but that’s the nature of this business and I’m happy to be with my new home in Denver and just looking forward to continuing a good career and getting better and winning a Super Bowl,” Ward told The SiriusXM Blitz, as transcribed by Cleveland.com.

The popular belief was that Ward was either going to be franchise tagged or signed to a longterm deal, but that didn’t happen.

“The guys that they brought in, the coaches, that whole new genre, they didn’t bring me in,” Ward told Sirius XM. “I was surprised, but that the same time, I wasn’t. You know how it goes. Anything can happen at anytime. Guys come and go, get signed, released, it’s the nature of the business. I was trying to prepare myself and tell myself don’t be surprised, just roll with the punches…”

Just to make sure nobody got the story confused, Ward punctuated matters with this tweet:

It’s pretty obvious that the Browns, who signed Donte Whitner to a four-year, $28 million contract, had other plans at safety.

Ward may have enjoyed Cleveland and the fans, but there’s little doubt he’s going to a better situation. You can listen to the interview below:

TJ Ward on Rob Gronkowski hit: Everyone knew this would happen with new rules

Rob GronkowskiNew England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to miss the remainder of the 2013 season and perhaps a large portion of the 2014 season with a knee injury. The hit that reportedly tore Gronkowski’s ACL and MCL was this brutal diving tackle by Cleveland Browns safety TJ Ward.

A number of people have accused Ward of having intent to injure with how aggressively he dove at Gronk’s knee. However, Ward said on Sunday that the NFL has basically given defenders no choice.

“If I would’ve hit him up high, there’s a chance I was going to get a fine,” Ward said, according to the Boston Globe. “It’s kind of being caught between a rock and a hard place. It’s a decision you have to make, but you have to follow the rules at the same time. When they set the rule, everyone knew what was going to happen. This can happen if you have those types of situations. It’s pretty much inevitable, and they forced our hand with this one.”

That is precisely the reason Tony Gonzalez and other players have said they would rather be hit in the head than have opponents diving at their knees. Ward said he went over to Gronkowski to check if we was OK after the play, adding that he prayed for him because “it looked bad.” That said, Ward believes he was simply playing the game the way the league wants it to be played.

“But I’ve got to play football, man,” Ward said. “I’ve got to play football.”

Personally, I didn’t have a problem with Ward’s hit. The hit clearly bothered Bill Belichick, but it was well within the rules. If stuff like this keeps happening, the NFL will probably make hits below the knee illegal as well, leaving a target area of between the neck and thighs. Who knows what will become of the game if and when that happens.

Bill Belichick stares down TJ Ward after hit on Rob Gronkowski (GIF)

Bill Belichick TJ WardBill Belichick was not a happy camper after losing star tight end Rob Gronkowski to a knee injury. The New England Patriots coach just stared down Cleveland Browns safety TJ Ward for hitting Gronk low in the third quarter on Sunday. The hit likely caused the tight end to suffer a torn ACL.

Cross the hoodie, prepare to die.

GIF via The Nosebleeds