Colt McCoy’s three years in Cleveland were anything but easy.
He claimed he was ignored by coordinator Brian Daboll as a rookie until he was forced to play because of injuries.
He suffered a concussion on a vicious hit from Pittsburgh’s James Harrison in 2011 but was allowed to return to the game. Then he missed the final three weeks, and his father upset some inside the building by ripping the Browns organization to a reporter.
He was benched for rookie Brandon Weeden in 2012 without a true competition.
Finally, he was traded Monday to the San Francisco 49ers for a seventh-round draft pick.
But McCoy insisted Tuesday he has no hard feelings.
“First off, there’s a lot of emotions going on,” he said on a conference call. “I definitely loved my time in Cleveland. I have nothing but great thanks to the fans, to the organization. There were lots of ups and downs, but I really appreciated everything that I went through there, the things that I learned, the way that I grew.
“By the time I kind of got a lot of my emotions in check by the end of the day yesterday, I was really pleased to come here to San Francisco. I think it’s a great opportunity, great staff, great locker room, very well-run organization. I’ve only been here for half a day, but it’s becoming very obvious.”
McCoy, who went 6-15 as a starter, was beloved by many Cleveland fans. He had a dazzling resume out of the University of Texas and made a good first impression with early wins over New Orleans and New England. Many still believed he should be the starter despite two straight coaches thinking otherwise.
“I want to leave as positive as we can,” he said. “I thank the fans, I thank the city, I thank the organization and from the bottom of my heart I really hope that the fans and the city can see an organization that consistently makes the playoffs and obviously accomplishes their dream.”
Most of McCoy’s history was with the previous regimes of coach Eric Mangini, then general manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur. But the new regime of owner Jimmy Haslam, CEO Joe Banner, GM Michael Lombardi and coach Rob Chudzinski chose to sign Jason Campbell as the backup to Weeden, making McCoy expendable.
“All those guys are new, so they don’t really know what it’s been like over the past few years,” McCoy said. “So there’s no hard feelings there. I wish them all the best. I probably didn’t mention it enough in my time that I was there how much I did appreciate the experience that I had there.
“And again, the ups and downs, the challenges that we faced, I would have loved to see that through. But at the end of the day, hopefully this is a better fit for me and a great fit for the city of Cleveland because at the end of the day they deserve a winner and I’ll always be grateful for my time there.”
McCoy was in Berea on Monday for the start of the offseason program, then was told of the trade. He was asked if he got a fair shake with the Browns.
“I’d really rather stay away from that topic,” he said. “There were some very positive, high moments there and there were also some low times. It was unfortunate kind of the way it all went down and ended, but I have no hard feelings toward those guys. I wish them nothing but the best.
“Ihave no hard feelings. I know that’s probably a shock for some people to hear that. But at the end of the day, I think I am where I’m supposed to be right now, and I couldn’t be more excited.”
McCoy said his body feels great, including the right shoulder that was injured in his final college game. He said the lack of playing time last year helped.
He said he’s over the concussion and believes the Browns handled it correctly.
“I believe that. I do,” he said. “I don’t think anyone would intentionally put someone out there to harm them more. As a competitor, you always want to play.
“There’s been lots of talk about that. Obviously it was a long time ago. I’d rather not bring it up again. The most important thing is healthwise, I feel great.”