HBO and NFL Films announced Thursday that the Browns will be the 10th franchise to be depicted on the training-camp series. The series will premiere Aug. 7 on HBO.
Among the potential storylines for the series’ 13th season are Cleveland bouncing back from its 0-16 season, Hue Jackson’s third year as head coach, John Dorsey’s first full go-around as general manager, the personalities of coordinators Todd Haley and Gregg Williams and of course the quarterback “battle” between Tyrod Taylor and first overall pick Baker Mayfield.
“NFL Films has always been exceptional at bringing fans closer to the game and they do an outstanding job with every show they produce, including HBO’s Hard Knocks,”
Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement.
“We have been asked multiple times about being featured on Hard Knocks, and we really felt like it was our turn this year and the timing was right. We want to be great partners in this league, and we also recognize Hard Knocks gives fans a special opportunity to learn more about our team and players. Organizationally, we are confident about where we are headed, but we have a lot of work to do in order for this franchise to earn the respect of our fans on the field. We understand winning is ultimately most important to our fans. We’re looking forward to partnering with HBO and NFL Films to show how our team is working hard at training camp to prepare for the 2018 season.”
The announcement that Cleveland will be on Hard Knocks comes just two weeks after Dorsey expressed disinterest in joining the series.
“I don’t believe we’re on Hard Knocks,”
Dorsey said on ESPN Cleveland 850-AM on May 2.
” I don’t think there’s anything good that comes out of Hard Knocks, but we’ll see.” When asked how he would feel if the league forced the Browns to be on the show — Cleveland was one of six teams eligible for that fate — Dorsey said he’d be OK with it.
The GM was signing a different tune Thursday.
“Like many, I was reluctant about being the featured team on Hard Knocks but once we sat down and talked about it as an organization, I feel a lot better and understand why the time is right,” general manager John Dorsey said. “Hue and I both feel like this team is in a good place and that we are in the process of building something that will lead to success. Being a part of Hard Knocks will give our fans the opportunity to see how passionate the people in our building are about winning and how excited we are about getting to work and preparing for the 2018 season.”
This won’t be the first time Jackson has been featured on Hard Knocks. The Browns coach was the Cincinnati Bengals running backs coach when the series featured Cleveland’s AFC North rivals in 2013.
“I’ve been a part of Hard Knocks and when you experience it first hand, you come to appreciate the inside look it really gives fans,”
Jackson said in a statement.
“We are excited about what we are building within our organization and feel good about the progress we have made this offseason. Being able to bring our fans in so they can get to know our players and our organization in a different way will be a huge positive for us. I want people to see how much our players and coaches care, how hard they work and how badly they want to win for Cleveland. This will be a great opportunity for our team.”
Mayfield spoke about the opportunity during an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
“For me looking at it, and as a team, I’d say it can be good if you handle it right. I’ll just say that,”
“If you think about it as a way to get on camera and try to show off and do certain things and handle it the wrong way then that can be very negative, it can be a distraction. But if you use it as a sense, ‘OK, I got to block out everything else and just focus on playing ball,’ then that can be a great thing for us.”
In addition to drafting Mayfield first overall and trading for Taylor, the Browns acquired a slew of new pieces this offseason, including fourth overall pick Denzel Ward, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, cornerback Damarious Randall, running back Carlos Hyde and second-round runner Nick Chubb.