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New Browns S Juan Thornhill believes “all the pieces are here” for Cleveland to win the Super Bowl

ByGuillermo Garcia

Mar 18, 2023
New Browns S Juan Thornhill believes "all the pieces are here" for Cleveland to win the Super Bowl

Thornhill is having arguably his best pro season with 71 total tackles, three pass breakups and nine passes defensed in 16 starts, all of which are career highs. It marked Thornhill’s second straight season as a full-fledged starter and further proved that he is well past the torn ACL he suffered as a rookie, which wiped out his chances of playing in Super Bowl LIV.

In the 2022 playoffs, Thornhill was called upon to help lead a young Chiefs quarterback with little playoff experience through the gauntlet of pass-happy AFC contenders en route to Super Bowl LVII, where KC defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-35.

“We had four or five rookies this year that had to play,” recalled Thornhill, who won his second career Super Bowl in February. “I was seen as the guy who had to be the leader, so I had to be the teacher in the room and be the person they could lean on if something went wrong and lift them up.”

In Cleveland, Thornhill will likely replace John Johnson III, the team’s veteran free safety cut after a disappointing year for the entire Browns defense. Finishing in the middle of the pack in yards allowed per game (331.2) and points per game (22.0), Cleveland also moved on from Joe Woods this season and hired Jim Schwartz as the new defensive coordinator.

Schwartz’s arrival is expected to be the necessary change in philosophy for the talent-laden Browns defense. Speaking with his new coach this week, Thornhill is ready to lend his ball-hawking presence to an aggressive scheme and hopes to help bring home the Lombardi Trophy that has eluded Cleveland since its inception.

“He had me pumped,” Thornhill said. “That’s all I can say. Just talking a little bit about football, the plan, how he sees me defensively. He got me ready to go.”