CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns need to find themselves a new center, as multiple outlets have reported that seven-year veteran offensive lineman Alex Mack has reached a contract agreement with the Atlanta Falcons on the first day of free agency Wednesday.
Last week, Mack exercised an opt-out clause in the five-year contract he was forced signed with the franchise after they matched an offer sheet he agreed to with the Jacksonville Jaguars during the 2014 offseason.
Mack elected to sign with the Falcons despite meeting with the Browns’ head coach, Hue Jackson, offensive line coach, Hal Hunter, and executive vice president of football operations, Sashi Brown, prior to the NFL Scouting Combine last month.
“He’s a tremendous football player, and again, he has the right to do that and we’ll see how this all unfolds when it’s over, but Alex knows how I feel about him, how we feel about him, and we’ll see how it ends up,” Jackson said at the 2016 Cleveland International Auto Show.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Jackson addressed the issue of free agency and said the team was interested in bringing back all of their free agents, which is why they welcomed the opportunity to meet with Mack prior to leaving for Indianapolis.
“I have not talked to him since then, but I don’t really think I needed to,” Jackson said. “I think I made it very clear where I stand with him and how much we would like to have him. I’d like you guys to all understand, these players when they have these contracts, they can kind of do what they want and just as I’m talking to him, I’m sure somebody else is too and that’s just the process.”
The 2014 season came to an abrupt and premature end for Mack when he suffered a broken leg in a 31-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium, but the road back from the year-ending injury, which included other damage rather than just a clean break, ended with his third selection to the Pro Bowl in 2015.
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Article Courtesy of WKYC Channel 3 News Cleveland
Picture Courtesy of Ken Blaze, Custom, and WKYC Channel 3 News Cleveland