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Browns DT finds unlikely mentor in Bengals’ Geno Atkins

“When he called and asked what defensive tackles I have working with me, I told him I have the guy I believe is one of the best in the league in Geno Atkins,” Smith said. “I respect Geno and I thought Geno would be perfect.”

Just because Atkins works with Smith and came highly recommended didn’t mean he would be willing to train Ogunjobi and teach him the tricks of the trade, however.

But that didn’t deter the rookie from taking a chance.

“I kind of just went out on a limb, got my hotel room, booked the rental car, got a flight and just shot out to Atlanta,” Ogunjobi said. “I didn’t know if Geno was even going to rock with me or help me out, but he welcomed me with open arms.”nfl jerseys cheap china free shipping

Ogunjobi said their first conversation was mostly him doing the talking while Atkins just said “OK” after every sentence. After a while, they were watching film together and creating a bond that remains strong.

“Once we started hanging out and watching film together, I started to develop that relationship,” Ogunjobi said. “Everything you do, it’s something you have to build, and now we are really tight. I can call him at any time if I need help with something or I need to understand something better.”2

Smith enjoyed how well his two students seemed to mesh right away.

“They are a lot alike in character and they hit it off, they quickly became best buddies,” Smith said. “Geno took him under his wing and mentored him. I believe they still talk almost daily.”

After the first offseason of training with Atkins and learning about life in the NFL, Ogunjobi played in 14 games for the Browns in 2017, recording 32 tackles and one sack. Heading into his second season, the 6-foot-3, 305-pound Ogunjobi is still taking in all the advice he can from Atkins.authentic nfl jerseys for cheap

“I trained with him this past offseason in Atlanta every day,” Ogunjobi said. “I am always sending him film to help me critique my game and tell me what I need to work on. If things are going a certain way, I call him for advice and we talk every day about the goals I have and things I want to accomplish this year.”

Working with Atkins, who is famously media shy, has helped Ogunjobi learn the details of the three-technique to go along with his knowledge and skill at nose tackle, his primary position in college at Charlotte. It was the finer points of the training that really stood out to Smith as he watched the bond form between them.