Football is known for the camaraderie between teammates on and off the field. But on rare occasion, players don’t meet each other until right before the game. That’s what happened to Baker Mayfield. The Cleveland Browns quarterback didn’t meet one of his offensive linemen until getting in the locker room before Sunday’s playoff game.
Mayfield met offensive lineman Blake Hance for the first time prior to the Browns’ matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday (Jan. 11). Rewind a few weeks ago and Hance wasn’t even on the team. But he helped the Browns take home the victory in the wildcard round, winning 48 to 37.
Blake Hance Joines the Cleveland Browns
A couple of weeks ago, Hance had been a part of the New York Jets practice squad. The Browns needed a replacement for guard Michael Dunn, who was out to do a calf injury. The Browns already had their eyes on Hance, planning to include him in their 2021 camp. They signed the offensive lineman to file out their rank because of a COVID-19 scare on the team. Hance was in driving distance to Cleveland and had already tested negative for the virus.
In a strange bit of fate, Hance had previously worked with the Browns’ backup quarterback Case Keenum. The two had been a part of the Washington training camp in 2019. Keenum was surprised to see Hance standing in the elevator to the team’s hotel before the game.
“I know you, right?” Keenum said, according to Pro Football Talks.
Keenum was even more surprised to learn that Hance was now on the team. The offensive lineman made his NFL debut on Sunday, playing on special teams and then coming in during the fourth quarter. He took over after Dunn was injured and was on the field when the Browns secured their victory.
In another weird coincidence, Sunday night had been the offensive lineman’s birthday.