Blake Hance performed a a lot bigger position than anticipated within the Cleveland Browns’ wild card spherical victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
CLEVELAND — Editor’s observe: the video within the participant above is from Jan. 11, 2021.
When the Cleveland Browns signed offensive guard Blake Hance from the New York Jets observe squad on Jan. 2, most hardly observed.
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In any case, it was solely educational that the Browns would wish to fill out their roster because it confronted a possible coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak heading into its regular-season finale in opposition to the Pittsburgh Steelers someday later.
Eight days after making the impromptu six-and-a-half-hour drive from Florham, New Jersey, to Cleveland, nevertheless, Hance has already etched his identify into Cleveland sports activities lore. And his legend might solely proceed to develop because the Browns enter the AFC divisional spherical for the primary time in 26 years.
‘I feel it was his first day’
All through the 2020 season, Baker Mayfield has made a behavior of going viral for his postgame feedback. However whereas it was normally the Cleveland quarterback’s quoting of TLC songs or Dwight from “The Workplace” that created clips, it was a unique sort of reply that made the rounds following the Browns’ 48-37 victory over the Steelers within the AFC wild card spherical on Sunday evening.
“A man named Blake that I launched myself to actually within the locker room earlier than the sport stepped up within the fourth quarter,” Mayfield informed NBC’s Michele Tafoya in his postgame interview.
Moments earlier, Hance had performed the ultimate 14 snaps at left guard in what was Cleveland’s first playoff win for the reason that 1994 season. With Joel Bitonio on the COVID-19 record and Michael Dunn leaving the sport with a calf harm, the Browns had no alternative however to show to Hance, who was nonetheless largely a stranger to his teammates.
“I do not wish to get my man’s identify improper, so I will say his quantity. No. 62, Hance — I noticed him within the locker room earlier than the sport and had no concept who he was,” Cleveland large receiver Jarvis Landry informed “The Pat McAfee Present” on Tuesday. “After which he really got here into the sport and I am like, ‘Oh, s–t.’… I feel it was his first day. I do not even assume he was within the conferences this week.”
On Monday, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, who missed Sunday evening’s sport after testing constructive for COVID-19, confirmed he had but to satisfy the participant who helped shut out his staff’s postseason victory.
“I’m trying ahead to it,” Stefanski mentioned.
As they are saying, to the victor goes the spoils.
Whereas a Browns loss probably would have resulted in Hance’s contributions turning into an afterthought, Cleveland’s victory has made his distinctive path to the playoffs the stuff of legends.
Shortly after Mayfield’s viral remark to Tafoya, Hance posted a brand new profile image to his Twitter feed of himself in a Browns jersey. The caption: #AGuyNamedBlake
Whereas Bitonio is anticipated to return to the Browns’ lineup for Cleveland’s divisional spherical matchup in opposition to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs this weekend, with Dunn now on injured reserve, it seems Hance will stay the offensive line’s subsequent man up. On the very least, ought to he discover himself again on the sphere on Sunday, there will not be any introductions wanted.
It appears all of Cleveland is now a lot accustomed to a man named Blake.