The Cleveland Browns will be featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks this summer, the team announced today.
The Browns are coming off an 0-16 season and are 1-31 the last two years, and new general manager John Dorsey previously said he did not want the team to appear on the Emmy award-winning series.
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But the franchise did not meet any of the required exceptions to turn down the show, and for the first time since Hard Knocks debuted in 2001, no team volunteered to appear.
This will be the first time the Browns have been featured on the show, and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and first overall pick Baker Mayfield figures to be a central figure.
“The storylines in Cleveland are compelling, which make the Browns an ideal partner on Hard Knocks,” NFL Films senior executive Ross Ketover said in a press release. “We’re looking forward to showing NFL fans around the world what the Haslams, John Dorsey, Hue Jackson and the coaching staff are doing to rebuild the team and reboot one of the most iconic franchises in sports.”
The six-week series will debut in August, and the obvious opening scene would be to show head coach Hue Jackson jumping into Lake Erie after saying last year he would do so if the team went 0-16, which it did.
This will be Jackson’s second experience with Hard Knocks. He was a Cincinnati assistant when the Bengals appeared on the series 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. “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.”
Dorsey, who took over as general manager after last season, addressed his initial comments that he would be opposed to appearing on the show.
“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,” he 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.”