Excellent move Savage! Nice to lock up our defensive centerpiece for 5 more years!
He was drafted in 2002 and called upon in 2003 to step in after a salary-cap purge emptied the Browns’ linebacking corps.
Now, he’ll be here for the long haul.
The Browns have signed Andra Davis to a five-year extension through 2010, rewarding their leading tackler and defensive leader with a long-term contract that allows him to continue his career with the team that brought him into the league as a fifth-round draft choice in 2002.
Staying with the Browns, Davis said, was a priority he’s grateful to fulfill.
“It’s a blessing,” he said. “Just to have this done and out of the way, just to know that I’m a Cleveland Brown for the next five years, it’s truly a blessing.”
Davis was a restricted free agent last spring and received the maximum one-year tender from the club. He’s adjusted well to Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 defense and now will be a centerpiece of that defense as it grows and improves in the coming years.
“I’m appreciative. I’m thankful,” Davis said. “I’m just glad to have it done and just focus on bringing this program up.
“Me signing I think is a big part of it. I definitely want to be part of those core guys. We’re laying the foundation.”
Davis leads the team with 169 tackles through 13 games – just one short of his career high. He calls the signals in the defensive huddle and has made plays from sideline-to-sideline, racking up a pair of sacks and an interception.
After playing as backup in 2002 and making 4 tackles, an interception and 16 special teams tackles, he was an instant hit as a starter in 2003, recording 170 tackles, 5 sacks, a forced fumble and 5 pass breakups.
“I was blessed to play behind Earl Holmes, Dwayne Rudd, Darren Hambrick and Jamir Miller, four veteran guys that really showed me and Ben Taylor the ropes (in ’02),” he said. “I didn’t know we were gonna be forced into action like that the next year, but we made the best of it. We knew we could play.”
Davis was the third of three linebackers the Browns drafted in 2002. Kevin Bentley, the first of two fourth-round picks, wasn’t offered a contract last spring and is playing as a backup in Seattle. Taylor starts alongside Davis at inside linebacker and ranks second in tackles with 121.
“Being a fifth-round pick, a lot of guys who went before me really aren’t even in the league right now,” he said. “For me to have the career I’ve had so far, it’s just a blessing.”
Davis had 89 tackles in 2004 before a knee injury ended his season five games prematurely. He returned to a new role in a new defense this season and has been as a good as ever.
“You never know in this business,” he said. “I prepared myself for whatever, but I wanted to be here.
“All the coaches and the players…it’s the people that I love and that let me know this thing is headed in the right direction.”
Davis had a career-high 20 tackles in the Browns’ first win of this season in Green Bay, and he’s made double-digit tackles in every game but one since. He was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Browns’ 22-0 shutout of Miami on Nov. 20, and his interception of Carson Palmer last week set up the Browns’ second touchdown.
Davis said his wife, Monique, has embraced the Cleveland community and didn’t want to have to move. The oldest of their two daughters, Alisha, is in school in the area.