By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas hopes the team doesn’t rush rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer.

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Thomas said Wednesday he believes the team is grooming Brock Osweiler to start the season opener on Sept. 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Thomas has been impressed with Kizer, the second-round pick from Notre Dame who had an impressive preseason debut last week, but thinks it would be best for him to begin the season in a backup role.

Thomas says he speaks with coach Hue Jackson on major decisions, and that they are usually aligned. Jackson is expected to give Osweiler his second straight exhibition start on Monday night against the New York Giants.

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Osweiler won eight games for Houston last season and Thomas believes the veteran has “the ‘it’ factor” to be a starter.

Kizer may very well be the franchise QB the Browns have coveted for nearly two decades, but Thomas would rather the team bring him along slowly.
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