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Browns' Watson welcomes Hopkins reunion: 'We'd love to have him'

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson welcomes a potential reunion with free-agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

"Me and D-Hop, we just naturally talk," Watson said Tuesday, per Brad Stainbrook of Orange and Brown Report. "We've been talking since the Houston (Texans) days, and then also whenever he left for Arizona, we were always talking. He's always been a brother of mine since I was coming out of high school; our connection (and) our relationship has always been great."

Watson added: "Of course, we'd love to have him; he knows that. We had a lot of connections. But it's kind of out of my range of things ... All I can do is make a call and see what happens, let (general manager Andrew Berry) do the rest."

The Browns have been linked as a potential destination for Hopkins since the Arizona Cardinals released the five-time Pro Bowl wideout last week. Cleveland acquired Watson via trade from the Texans in March 2022.

Hopkins, a first-round pick in 2013, spent the first seven seasons of his career in Houston and played with Watson from 2017-19 before the Texans traded the pass-catcher to the Cardinals. With Watson under center, Hopkins earned three first-team All-Pro selections and set single-season career highs with 115 catches and 1,572 yards in 2018.

Watson acknowledged that the Browns check all of Hopkins' boxes, according to Mary Kay Cabot of

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said he's happy with Cleveveland's current roster but added Berry is exploring the team's options when asked about Hopkins.

"I really, really like our wide receiver room," Stefanski said Tuesday, according to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. "I love the guys that are in there. Andrew and his crew are always looking at every avenue, so I won't comment specifically on the player other than to say that I really like our roster."

The Browns traded for former New York Jets receiver Elijah Moore and drafted third-round wideout Cedric Tillman this year, adding them to a wide receiver depth chart that also features Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones, among others.

Cooper led the team with 78 receptions, 1,160 yards, and nine touchdowns in 2022.

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