JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Safety Tashaun Gipson says he’s glad he got away from the Cleveland Browns organization and hopes the Jacksonville Jaguars score at least 40 points in Sunday’s matchup at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Oh, yeah: He also thinks the Jaguars’ defense will pitch a shutout.
“I truly hope that we hang 40 on them,” Gipson said during an interview with ESPN’s Freddie and Fitz radio show on Monday. “Their offense probably shouldn’t score against our defense and I’m excited. That’s the true thing.
“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.”
That wasn’t the only shot Gipson took at the Browns during his interview. He also said he’s glad he’s no longer a part of an organization that has lost double-digit games in 12 of the past 14 seasons.
The Browns have won only two of their past 36 games and are the NFL’s only remaining winless team (0-9) in 2017. Gipson said the blame for that rests squarely on the front office and not the players. They’ve bungled decision after decision, he said, especially when it comes to quarterback.
“You look back and I feel bad for those guys because, like I said, it’s nothing that they can do. They just go out there and play,” Gipson said. “It’s the guys above them who make these decisions and, you know, it’s unfortunate. We’ve seen it time and time again, the opportunity that’s slipped by them.
“Every time [Eagles quarterback] Carson Wentz pop up on the TV, somebody brings it up [that the Browns didn't draft him]. I had to play against [Texans rookie quarterback] Deshaun Watson. It’s unfortunate what happened to him, but that’s going to be one of the best young quarterbacks in the league and one of the best quarterbacks in the league in the coming years.
“It’s things like that you just continue to scratch your head. You’ve just got to look back and say, ‘Man, I’m glad to get up out of there.’”
Gipson spent the first four seasons of his career with the Browns after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming in 2012. He developed into one of the better safeties in the league, making the Pro Bowl in 2014.
Gipson was one of four starters the Browns chose not to retain in the 2016 free-agency period; tackle Mitchell Schwartz (Chiefs), center Alex Mack (Falcons) and receiver Travis Benjamin (Chargers) were the others, all signing on the first day of free agency.
Gipson would go on to sign a five-year, $36 million contract with the Jaguars in March 2016, with $12 million guaranteed.
Gipson said that while he may not have fond memories of the organization, he appreciates the fan base.
“Coming from the situation in which I came, you know, the way that I made it to Cleveland, the opportunity that I was granted and just the path that I paved for myself — I’ll forever be in debt to the city of Cleveland because they helped me get to my first Pro Bowl, besides the God-given ability to go out there and make plays,” he said. “The fans, they supported me, they loved me, they brought me in. It was never a situation where it was any ill will to the fans. I don’t have any ill will because I’m blessed, but it’s going to be a little different and honestly it’s going to be exciting [to return to Cleveland].”
Gipson said he still speaks with Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey and secondary coach DeWayne Walker, who spent the past four seasons in a similar role with the Jaguars. Otherwise, Gipson has had minimal contact with former teammates.
“I can’t read minds, but I can only imagine what’s going on in those guys’ minds over there,” he said. “I mean, it’s pretty bad.”