What’s Gone on in the Past Few Weeks

Recent Browns’ Headlines

Although the NFL season is on hiatus for the time being (just about a week away from training camp!), the Cleveland Browns have been in the news for a multitude of reasons.  They have largely been positive, as they do not relate to the situation (and mess) regarding Josh Gordon.  All three stories are off-the-field instances with the team – but perhaps they can lead to a sense of unity and excitement by those in the locker room and others who are involved with the franchise.

New Mascot: Swagger

For the first time, the team will have a live dog (a bullmastiff) roaming the sidelines on game days.  This falls in line with several decisions made by the new ownership, who seek to change the culture by making sweeping changes.  Obviously it will be difficult to argue that the pooch can be the difference between winning and losing, but maybe it can continue the trend of securing the casual fan (especially the younger ones).  I think the name of the mascot is brilliant; Donte Whitner, Karlos Dansby, and a few new members of the defense appear to have this quality already.   Having the support of “Swagger” could further the shift in attitude by the Cleveland Browns; but like many things, time will only tell.

Jimmy Haslam’s Break

The owner’s other business (Pilot Flying J) agreed to pay a $92 million fine in order to circumvent legal prosecution.  It has been debated whether Haslam is in the clear or could still be indicted separate from his company, but my guess is that forking over that kind of money likely came with some sort of assurance that sanctions would not occur.   Hopefully both Pilot Flying J, as well as the Cleveland Browns, can move on from the rebate scandal that has been looming for over a year.  Will not being asked about this cause Browns players to perform better in the fall?  Who knows, but it appears that the Jimmy Haslam news can only be a good thing for the franchise.

Johnny Has Company

Since May eighth; Johnny Manziel has been the lone Cleveland sports star who has garnered national attention.  The re-signing of Lebron James moves the spotlight directly on the basketball star, and the NFL rookie appears to be second fiddle.  Manziel said he would not change the way he acts on weekends (drinking, partying, etc.), but can James
actually teach the signal caller how to “grow up” – the way he has done over the past four years?  I believe James will try, but it will come down to Johnny listening and wanting to make changes.

Conclusion:  After all the waiting and waiting, the NFL season creeps ever closer.  I’m glad to hear about the positive news and the buzz surrounding the city.  It’s unlike anything I could have imagined, and I’m glad to be here first-hand.  If the Browns can actually be consistent winners this fall, the city of Cleveland will be an incredible spot to be.

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