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Malcolm Smith on Fans in Stands: A Little Critical at Times, But Support and Love is There

On the team's day off after their victory against the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns linebacker Malcolm Smith was a guest on the Jim Rome Show talking about where the team is now and the recent headlines involving quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Cleveland Browns linebacker Malcolm Smith was a guest on the Jim Rome Show Tuesday and was asked how it is with fans being back in the building after having small or non-existent crowds last year.

"Cleveland's fans are awesome, man. They've been a little critical at times, but the support and the love is there. It definitely hasn't been easy for them the past 10 to 15 years, so we try to give them something to cheer on and when we do that they're awesome."

Rome did not mention quarterback Baker Mayfield in this question. Mayfield was asked about the fans booing him on Monday after he struggled in the game on Sunday, which prompted him to quip, “Those are probably the same fans that will not be quiet while we are on offense and trying to operate. Do not really care.”

That made the fact Smith mentioned them being critical all the more interesting. It wasn't something he was asked about, but something he volunteered while trying to view it from their point of view and ultimately appreciating what they offer.

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Later in the interview, Smith was asked specifically about fans booing the Browns quarterback specifically and his reaction.

"I mean it hurts, because he's obviously laying everything he has out for the city of Cleveland and trying to put this team to where we need to be. So, I think it's probably not directed in the right way. I mean, I can understand their frustration. They want us to play to our talent level, but the reality is that the NFL is very difficult and injuries are a huge part of it. I commend him for definitely battling through and he's trying to give our team the best shot to win. And as long as that's the top of mind, I respect it."

Rome followed up by asking if Smith has any issue with anything Mayfield has done or said.

No, because at the end of the day, I think for us to be successful, he's got to be successful and he's going to be at the helm of us doing - as much as I love Case Keenum, it's pretty clear that, you know, it's Baker's team as far as the organization goes. You know, when we all signed up, we expected him to be our quarterback, so we're gonna ride with him. And I appreciate the effort he puts in, the time he puts in, the time he puts in the training room just to get out there on the practice field or in the games is a lot, so gotta respect it.

Smith also discussed why he chose to re-sign with the Browns this offseason when he had other offers and the state of the team as they prepare to take on the Baltimore Ravens twice over the next three weeks. He also talked about what he's been doing to try to keep himself healthier to extend his career and about his alma mater USC and their future.

READ MORE: 4 Thoughts on Cleveland Browns Snoozefest Win Over Lions