BEREA — Browns receiver Joe Jurevicius is the ultimate professional. Show up on time, put in the work and don’t complain.
Jurevicius’ routine was thrown for a loop this week after his father, William, was hospitalized after a multicar accident. Jurevicius was a few minutes late for practice Wednesday and missed it entirely Thursday when his father was released from the hospital.
“I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything,” Jurevicius said Friday. “I treat this game as a job. It’s what I do for a living. It’s my job to be caught up.”
“Joe’s such a professional. He’ll be ready to play,” offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski said. “I have no doubts on that.”
Jurevicius’ focus was squarely on the Seattle Seahawks (4-3) on Friday morning, but the rest of the week was another story. His father’s accident was shown on local television, and I-90 in Willoughby Hills had to be shut down for hours Monday morning.
“Anytime someone’s in the hospital it’s serious,” said Jurevicius, who declined to get into specifics of the injury. “It was a bad accident, and it caused me to miss a couple days of work.
“The most important thing is he’s going to be fine, she (the other driver) is going to be fine. I’ve always put family above football and I’ll continue to. I had to help him out, help the family out and go from there.”
Jurevicius said his father usually attends home games but will be forced to alter his routine Sunday.
“He’ll be swearing at the television from his home chair instead of the stands,” he said.
The cheering for Jurevicius, whether in the Dawg Pound or a Chardon home, will likely come on third down. He’s tied for third in the NFL with 15 catches on third down for 189 yards (12.6 average) and three touchdowns. For the year, he has 20 catches for 236 yards and three touchdowns.
“I will try and continue to be successful on third down, because that just gives us three extra downs to get the ball into Braylon, Kellen and Jamal’s hands,” Jurevicius said.
Receiver Braylon Edwards, tight end Kellen Winslow and running back Jamal Lewis are the guys who draw the national attention. Jurevicius is appreciated closer to home.
“From Day 1, Joe’s been a tremendous guy in the locker room, a tremendous leader for us,” Chudzinski said. “He has set the tempo in a lot of things that we do. He’s a guy you know what you’re going to get every single day, a guy you can count on.”
Jurevicius spent a year with the Seahawks before signing with the Browns. He started 12 games, catching 55 passes for 694 yards and 10 touchdowns as Seattle lost to Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl.
“He had a great year here and I didn’t want to lose him, but I fully understood why he wanted to play back there,” Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said.
Jurevicius grew up in the eastern suburb of Timberlake and signed a four-year contract in March 2006 to play for his hometown Browns. He’s as excited as anyone in the locker room that they’re 4-3 and winners of two straight.
“It’s huge, especially now that we’re doing well and continuing to make big strides,” he said. “You don’t know how long you can actually play this game. I feel fortunate to be able to come home and do it in front of family. Thank God he (his father) will be around now to watch many more.”
Jurevicius said the return home and the team’s success have made him feel younger than his 33 years.
“I think I’ve gotten better with age,” he said. “I’ve learned more and I learned how to apply it to my certain position or that certain point in the game.
“I still enjoy getting out there, banging around with people and catching a few footballs here and there.”
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.