- The latest breaking Case Keenum news, stats, splits, articles and how it impacts your your fantasy nfl rosters and DFS lineups.
- After committing big-time money to shore up Baker Mayfield’s protection and weapons, the Cleveland Browns devoted significant funds to his backup, too. The Browns have reached an agreement with.
About the Book
Case Keenum has traveled one of the most unique paths in the NFL. Recruited by just one college, undrafted, and released three times, Case has overcome every obstacle to become a successful starting quarterback. In 2017, Keenum captured America's imagination by leading the Minnesota Vikings to a 13-3 record and an NFC North title. His game-winning touchdown in the final seconds of their divisional playoff game against the Saints, the 'Minneapolis Miracle,' made Case part of NFL history.
Keenum shares stories from every stage of his life, starting out as a ball boy for his father's college team in West Texas, going on to win a state title in high school, and rewriting the NCAA record book at the University of Houston. A devastating knee injury almost derailed his football career, but helped him get closer to the woman who would soon become his wife.
Veteran Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum had the perfect tweet for his former teammate Stefon Diggs on Tuesday. Diggs was likely like most of us, watching athletes and other celebrities. Career Stats for QB Case Keenum. YEAR TEAM G ATT COMP PCT YDS AVG LNG TD INT 1st 1st% 20+ SCK SCKY RATE; 2013 Houston Texans.
Throughout his story, Case will explain how being a Christian helped him navigate the windy path to success. No matter what obstacle has been placed in front of him, Case believes God has a plan for him. That's why he plays football and that's why he's writing this book: To glorify God and to help others who face adversity in their everyday life.
'Am I a football player who happens to be a Christian?' Case writes, 'No, I'm a Christian who happens to be a football player. That's my calling. That's my defining characteristic. Once I realized that, everything else fell into place. I became a better football player and, more importantly, a better person.'
Q&A With Case Keenum
A selection from the Foreword by Tony Dungy
He's been a leader and a winner all his life and he's demonstrated those qualities since he was a young athlete. And he's done it not just during the record-breaking performances and the championship seasons, but in the disappointing times as well. He kept the same upbeat attitude when he wasn't highly recruited coming out of high school and when he got injured. When he wasn't drafted coming out of college, he didn't get down but just became more determined to prove the experts wrong.
He signed a contract with his hometown Houston Texans but didn't experience the immediate success that he had in college. The first two years of his NFL career provided nothing but disappointments. Through it all, though, he never lost his desire or his belief in his abilities.
Where does that type of attitude come from? In Playing for More you'll learn that attitude came from many sources. It came from a very supportive family and a dad who taught him not only how to play quarterback but how to work hard and sacrifice to be the best he could be. It came from some excellent coaches who helped him develop as a player. But, more than anything, I believe you'll see that the driving force in Case Keenum's life is his relationship with Jesus Christ.
Playing football is my passion but, it is not who I am.
I'm playing for my King. I'm playing for more.
Waiting for your chance doesn’t mean that you just sit around twiddling your thumbs. The opportunities you get in life come really fast, and you don’t know when they'll arrive.
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Case Keenum had no preconceived notions about Baker Mayfield when he first signed with the Browns in March to be his backup and mentor.
All he really knew was what he had seen of him at Oklahoma and in his first two seasons with the Browns: a fiery dynamo and creative playmaker who occasionally planted a flag or called out a critic.
Besides, Mayfield was from Texas like Keenum, and those Texas QBs stick together for the most part, unless it’s Mayfield vs. some of those hated Longhorns.
“He reached out to me right after I signed,’' Keenum told cleveland.com. “He didn’t have to do that, so that was cool.’'
With Keenum having a history with new coach Kevin Stefanski, national speculation immediately began to swirl that he’d replace the Browns No. 1 overall pick if he continued to struggle. Keenum had gone 11-3 with Kevin Stefanski as his quarterbacks coach in Minnesota in 2017 — leading the Vikings all the way to NFC Championship Game thanks to the magnificent ‘Minneapolis Miracle’ — and knew The Stefanski Way like the back of his hand.
Mayfield, meanwhile, was still reeling from a discombobulated season under Freddie Kitchens, in which he tumbled to second last in the NFL with a 78.8 rating, and finished second in the league with 21 interceptions. Even Mayfield’s previous QB mentor, Drew Stanton, saw the writing on the wall.
“He was definitely on the clock,’' Stanton told cleveland.com. “You don’t bring in Case Keenum with the comfort level he has in the system and knowing Kevin and all that stuff, so yeah, they kind of put his hand to the fire a little bit.’'
But it didn’t stop Mayfield from welcoming Keenum with open arms and inviting him to work out with him and other Browns players in Mayfield’s hometown of Austin, Texas in May when NFL facilities were shut down because of COVID-19. Keenum gladly made the 2 1/2 hour drive from his hometown in Brownwood, Texas and stayed with his sister in Austin for some bonding time and practice with his new teammates.
“The fact that he was able to do it was pretty cool,’' Keenum said. “I’ve tried a lot of other places to get everybody together in the offseason, and it’s hard. It was the first time we met and got to hang out.’'
One of the first things that struck Keenum, 32, was how much the players loved Mayfield and his infectious personality.
“Guys are just drawn to him,’' he said.
As the virtual offseason Zoomed along, Keenum discovered other reasons why Mayfield was able to walk on at two schools and become a starter, win the Heisman Trophy and become the No. 1 overall pick in 2018. One was his uncanny ability to pick up the complicated terminology of the new offense, which Keenum said was “light years” different than what Mayfield had done the previous two years.
“I had issues calling plays in this offense for a long time,’' Keenum said. “I had to get my wife to practice and read off plays, and just to be able to get out of the huddle in this offense, there are some wordy plays and some personnel stuff that’s really really hard to get a handle on.’'
What’s more, Mayfield had to add in all of the elements and nuances of offensive line coach Bill Callahan’s blocking schemes and run game concepts.
“There are so many different criterias and checks at the line that he’s gotta get squared away, and for him to be able to do all that and learn it without any OTAs and with a really shortened training camp was remarkable,’' Keenum said.
In addition, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt overhauled Mayfield’s footwork, and he was busy trying to develop muscle memory for leading with his left foot instead of his right and minimizing a hitch in his step.
Trying to adapt to a new head coach, a new offensive coordinator, a new system, new teammates and new footwork was bad enough, but do it all without an offseason program or a preseason game was virtually impossible. The opener in Baltimore, Keenum said, “was our preseason game. That’s just kind of the way it work out.’'
When the Browns got rocked, 38-6, by the Ravens, the ‘here-we-go-again’ mantra reverberated throughout Cleveland, and Mayfield was ripped mercilessly by the national pundits.
“It was like, ‘Hey we don’t have time to mess around we’ve got to get our stuff together,’ ’’ Keenum said.
With the help of a really strong quarterback room, including Keenum, Van Pelt and offensive assistant T.C. McCartney whom Mayfield has raved about this season to Stanton and others, he rallied to win his next four games and silence his critics. But then he lost 38-7 to the Steelers — throwing two interceptions including a pick-six by Minkah Fitzpatrick on the opening drive — and the anti-Mayfield drumbeat grew louder. He tumbled to 26th in the NFL with an 84.3 rating, and threw four picks in his previous five quarters.
Most big-name analysts from ESPN, and longtime critics such as Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd wrote him off and called for his job. Some called for Keenum to start and others deemed him a bust. Local media and some Browns fans questioned if he was the Browns’ QB of the future.
Mayfield said ‘I don’t give a damn what they say,’ but Keenum and those close to him knew it had to sting.
“You can’t help but hear some of the stuff,’' Keenum said. “Just the stuff that Baker has to go through from a national media standpoint, the corners he’s been painted into and the tough spots he’s put into, how he’s handled it has been impressive. He’s had a lot more noise than I have throughout my career, and he’s done a great job of blocking it out.’'
Van Pelt, a former NFL quarterback, has also done a masterful job of managing Mayfield’s psyche this season. After that demoralizing loss in Pittsburgh, in which Van Pelt yanked him late in the third quarter to earn the silent treatment from Mayfield for the rest of the night, Van Pelt proclaimed in his next presser that the ‘the arrow is up for sure’ on Mayfield and hoped that him getting ‘kicked in the butt’ would helped prepare him for the Bengals game.
Mayfield stormed out that week with a steely look in his eye, and after getting picked off on his first pass, the play that resulted in Odell Beckham Jr. suffering a season-ending torn ACL, he settled in and delivered one of the best performances of his career en route to a 37-34 come-from-behind victory. He threw for 5 TD passes, completed 21 straight attempts, and threw the game winning touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones with 11 seconds left.
“It speaks volumes about the work he puts in and the leadership he shows,’' Keenum said.
Along the way, Keenum, Van Pelt and McCartney kept things light in the pressure-packed quarterback room. Each week, McCartney would add some pop culture references to the end of the quarterback notes, and require Mayfield to slip one into his postgame press conference after a victory.
He was happy to oblige, referencing Snoop Dogg, Dwight Schrute from The Office, the Ruff Riders Anthem (Stop, drop, shut’ed down. Open up shop…), Ricky Bobby, Lil’ Wayne, and more. The sound bytes were so entertaining that McCartney made a cutup of all of them.
“It’s impressive how he doesn’t doesn’t break character and he’ll just drop in some Tupac lyrics,’' Keenum said. “It was a lot of fun. It’s a special, special time in those winning locker rooms.’'
At the bye week, Mayfield took an unflinching look at the first half of his season and all seven of his interceptions, and set about eliminating his mistakes. Stefanski and Van Pelt threw things out of his game that didn’t work, and built in more keepers and play-action. They called for more passes to Rashard Higgins, with whom Mayfield developed great chemistry as a rookie.
The results were profound. He stopped throwing picks and made third-down completions that many QBs couldn’t make. He slipped out of trouble and made first downs with his legs. He regained his confidence and morphed back into the quarterback that lit it up at Oklahoma and in his rookie year.
The lights came on and Mayfield, with plenty of help from Keenum, began to take care of the football and take what the defense gave him. He stopped worrying about making the big play, and lived to see another down. He became deadly in the red zone, with the Browns finishing third in the NFL by scoring touchdowns on 73.6% of their trips inside the 20 (39 of 53).
“He’s built for the red zone,’' Keenum said. “He’s got a really strong arm a quick release, and he can move in the pocket and escape and get out in the red zone. Those are huge plays when you can come out of there with touchdowns instead of field goals.’'
Keenum witnessed Mayfield’s resolve become tested in Week 15 when he had to face the New York Jets — with a chance to clinch a playoff spot for the first time in 18 years — without his top four receivers and his left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. The receivers were all high-risk close COVID-19 contacts ruled out the night before, and Wills was scratched on gameday morning with an illness. They conducted a walk-through at 8:15 Sunday morning in a hotel parking garage after a four-hour travel delay the evening before.
“[It was like] ‘well, we’re playing in less than 24 hours, but here you go: you’re down [a tackle] and all of your receivers,’’' Keenum said. “I got text messages from my friends like ‘hey, are you going to run routes this week or what?’
“We really had only one meeting, virtually before the game. There were some missed walkthroughs and some other stuff. That game didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but he had a great mindset and he battled that game.’'
After fumbling three times, including on a fourth-and-inches sneak at the end with the game on the line, Mayfield answered only one question in his postgame Zoom conference and then stalked out of the room. But his answer was a doozy, proclaiming “I failed this team’' and “It’s on me.’'
Keenum, who had spent most of his waking moments with Mayfield over the previous five months and became close to him, wasn’t surprised.
“That’s who he is,’' Keenum said. “He’s very hard on himself. He’s very competitive and he doesn’t like not winning, obviously. To be up against what he was against that week. It was a tall task, but he felt he had what it took to get the job done. That’s what you want your franchise quarterback to be, to say, to do.’'
During practice the next week for the season finale against Pittsburgh — and one last chance to clinch a playoff spot and snap the NFL’s longest drought — Van Pelt described Mayfield as ‘surly,’ and Nick Chubb acknowledged he was dialed in and not saying much.
“Let’s just say he was throwing the ball a little harder than I was that week,’' Keenum said.
Mayfield went out and beat a Steelers team resting some Pro Bowlers in Ben Roethlisberger, T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward, but played well and catapulted the Browns into the playoffs, washing away the anguish of 197 losses since the last playoff game in 2003, and 14 double-digit loss seasons.
“I commend him because he came back and put together a heck of a performance the next week, when it was on the line,’' Keenum said.
After Mason Rudolph pulled the Steelers to within 24-22 with 1:23 left, the Browns recovered the onside kick and then Mayfield sealed the victory with a 3-yard run around right end to convert the crucial third down. Mayfield pumped his fist with gusto to signal the first down, then spun the ball to the ground. He waved up the crowd on his way off the field.
“I wouldn’t have had it any other way,’' Keenum said. “I love the passion. That’s part of what makes him a great leader, one of the best I’ve ever been around. It’s cool to be on the inside with him because he’s fiercely competitive, but fiercely loyal, a guy that dishes out all the credit but takes all the blame.’'
He also loved the playcall by Stefanski.
“He said ‘I trust you here and let’s roll,’’' Keenum said. “That was a cool way to seal the clinching spot. It was a special moment. And then right after, kneeling it. I got goosebumps during that moment, and not because it was cold outside.’'
Keenum couldn’t have been happier for Mayfield backing up his promise to turn the Browns around, especially after the turmoil of his first two seasons.
“Those moments don’t come along very often,’' Keenum said. “Ask Joel Bitonio. Ask a lot of different teams I’ve been on. You go around and raise your hand and ask who’s been in the playoffs before, and not many people can raise their hands. So for him to have that type of moment, nobody deserves it more than he does because of what he’s done this year.’'
Case Keenum Salary
In his last nine games, Mayfield has been lights out, throwing 11 touchdown and only one interception. What’s more, he did it the harsh conditions of FirstEnergy Stadium.
“I also think he should be in the conversation for strongest arm in the NFL,’' Keenum said. “I mean I know everybody’s in love with Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen and those guys, but we obviously play in the worst-weather Stadium in the country. And the dude is just throwing, for lack of a better word, p— missiles.
“People don’t realize how hard it is throw the ball in that stadium. Derek Carr came in here and tried to throw in stadium. It’s hard to do, and he does it week in and week out without an issue.’'
On the way to the wild card game, Mayfield endured the COVID-19 week from hell. Browns coaches and players tested positive one-by-one, and Mayfield heads into Pittsburgh for the wild card game Sunday night without Stefanski and without his Pro Bowl left tackle in Joel Bitonio, the longest-tenured player on the team and best offensive linemen. A first-year guard in Michael Dunn will be start in his place.
Browns offensive line coach Bill Callahan and assistant offensive line coach Scott Peters will also be home after testing positive — while the Browns try to decipher what the likes of NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate T.J. Watt and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Cam Heyward are showing them.
The Browns were forced to cancel practice in Wednesday and Thursday because of COVID-19, and got in only one full session on Friday. But Mayfield put on a brave face in his weekly Zoom conference and vowed that the lack of practice ‘won’t have an impact’ on the game. He expressed confidence in Van Pelt as his playcaller and reminded everyone the wild card round is not what they came for.
“We’re not satisfied,’' he said. “Our goal was not just to make the playoffs. It is the stepping stone to get to where we want to go. It definitely means a lot to end that long drought, but there’s a new standard, and we need to continue to have that mindset.”
Case Keenum Stats
Keenum, for one, is here for it. He’s become a huge Mayfield fan since March, and plans to be one for years to come.
“I’m going to tune in to watch Baker Mayfield for the rest of his career, which is going to be a long one and I’m excited to see where it’s going to go,’' Keenum said. “If he trends the same way he has this year in the short amount of time we’ve had to get going, there’s no telling what he can do.’'
Browns playoffs shirts, hats for sale: Here’s where Cleveland Browns fans can order shirts and hats celebrating the team qualifying for the 2020 NFL playoffs.
More Browns coverage
Three ways the Browns can upset the Pittsburgh Steelers: Film Review
Browns RT Jack Conklin travels solo to Pittsburgh; coaches drive, players fly
Ward, Johnson out vs. Steelers, Harrison, Bryant and Smith activated
Browns early passing game and 3 other things to watch against the Steelers
Meet ‘Chubba the Hunt’: Final installment of The Stefandalorian series Default sophos xg firewall password.
Browns vs. Steelers wild card matchup: How their grades compare this season
Sashi Brown’s fingerprints are on the Browns’ playoff team: Pluto
Who are the three key offensive, defensive Browns? Podcast
Case Keenum Salary
Expansion-era Browns fans finally have a playoff team to call their own