Former Browns safety and current Jacksonville Jaguar Tashaun Gipson had some fiery words for his former team before the two meet this weekend in Cleveland. So fiery, you’ve never been so ready for these two particular teams to face off.
“I truly hope that we hang 40 on them," Gipson told ESPN's Freddie and Fitz radio show on Monday. "Their offense probably shouldn't score against our defense and I'm excited.”
The Browns chose not to keep Gipson during the 2016 free agency period, and he wasn’t alone. Mitchell Schwartz, Alex Mack, and Travis Benjamin were all let go by the Browns, and have all gone on to have success with their new teams. Gipson signed a five-year, $36 million contract with the Jaguars in March of 2016, and is now part of the NFL’s best pass defense on a 6-3 team with playoff aspirations, while the Browns sit at 0-9.
“It's personal, but yet at the end of the day you're still blessed ... knowing that I'm in a situation right now where I don't look back about it. I don't look back with any regrets. I'm extremely excited with where I'm at right now, but you know it's definitely going to be personal man, for sure.”
On a conference call with Cleveland media Wednesday afternoon, Gipson’s comments were the main topic of discussion.
“I’ll take ownership that my comments were more pointed to the front office. I still show respect for the [players] back there. It wasn’t a shot. Unless you have Tom Brady, I think we can pitch a shutout against any team in the NFL. To say I took a shot, I think that is a reach. I really feel this defense can pitch a shutout,” he said via ESPN.
While he slightly backtracked, he still delivered heat. “Individually, when you look at it, I wouldn’t mind having a game like the Tennessee safety [Kevin Byard] did.” Byard had three interceptions against the Browns, so that tells you everything you need to know on that front.
And after his quarterback had some advice for DeShone Kizer, Gipson finished with, “For my sake, I hope DeShone Kizer marked me and throws at me. I never shy away from no challenge.”
As you might expect, the Browns are well aware of Gipson’s comments:
Hue Jackson said he addressed Tashaun Gipson's comments with the team today. "You can bet your bottom dollar I did."— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) November 15, 2017
The players didn’t say much either, but it’s hard to blame them — considering they’ve yet to win a game:
None of #Browns players took the bait today when asked about what Tashaun Gipson said this week. TE David Njoku said he loves to talk smack on the field and lookig forward to chatting it up with Gipson Sunday— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) November 15, 2017
Gipson had mentioned Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey as a player he feels bad for. The two are friends, so he took them in stride. “For me, I’m here in Cleveland. This is my team. I’m going to continue to fight,” Kirksey said. “He can say he feels for guys like me. I appreciate him for trying to speak up for me. I have a job to do, that’s to go out and win ballgames and lead this team the best I can lead it.”
Kizer, who took some direct hits from Gipson’s comments, said: “I look forward to going out there and executing my job to try to prove him wrong with those comments.”
In the locker room on Wednesday, Gipson reiterated his confidence in the Jaguars defense. “My confidence for this defense is uber high right now. I definitely feel like we can pitch a shutout against any team.
“And it just so happen Cleveland happen to be the next team on the list, and Cleveland happen to be the team we're going to pitch a shutout against.”
We always can’t wait until the next NFL Sunday week in and week out, but plenty of eyes will be on this game.