Mack has been considered by some a sure bet to leave the team following the season. It's believed that's one reason the team selected potential replacement Cameron Erving in the first round of the 2015 draft.
"I haven't really had any conversations with Alex, but I will say I'm sure there's a reason he put that clause in his contract, because this is going to be an important year for the Browns to prove the things they said to him during the recruiting process, prove they were true," Thomas said. "So I imagine that we're going to have to have a good season, we're going to have to show to Alex that we're moving in the right direction, or I'm sure he'll probably… there's no downside to declaring himself a free agent after this year because worst-case scenario, I guess, he can just resign with the Browns if he wanted. So I wouldn't be surprised if he decides to opt out and become a free agent at the end of the year."
Mack has spent the last the six seasons as the starting center for the Browns. His 2014 season ended after five games when he suffered a broken leg.
The team averaged 146.4 rushing yards with him, 90.5 without him, per the website.
“We’re making some pretty steady progress, doing what we need to do to get out there for training camp,” Mack said. “But it’s more important that I’m out there for game day. Those two feelings have to balance out. It just takes time, having patience. Two weeks after the surgery, I wanted to be up and running around. I’m not 18 anymore.”
Mack's season ended early after breaking his leg in a game against the Steelers last October. After initially hoping that Mack could return after eight to 10 weeks, the Browns were forced to put Mack on season-ending injured reserve after surgery.
Until this year, Mack never missed a start in five seasons. Due to his broken leg, Mack sat out 11 games in 2014.
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