- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BEREA, OHIO (AP) - Chris Gocong has joined a new team: the Cleveland core.

The Browns extended the linebacker’s contract by three years on Wednesday, another signing by general manager Tom Heckert to keep the team’s young and promising players together.

Gocong is in his second season with the Browns, who acquired him last year in a trade with Philadelphia along with cornerback Sheldon Brown. Gocong spent four seasons with the Eagles, where he was with Heckert.

Financial terms were not immediately available.

The 27-year-old Gocong, who missed most of training camp with a neck stinger, had four tackles last week and was credited with a half-sack in Cleveland’s win over Miami.

Heckert has made it a priority to sign Cleveland’s top players to extensions. In the past month, the Browns have extended the contracts of Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Thomas, tight end Evan Moore and defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin.

The Browns are also in talks with running back Peyton Hillis and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson about extensions.

Gocong has made a smooth transition into the Browns’ new 4-3 defensive scheme. He started in all 16 games last season, finishing with 74 tackles and two sacks. Gocong made 33 starts for the Eagles from 2007-09.