Knock, knock: Browns there; team set for HBO's 'Hard Knocks' - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Knock, knock: Browns there; team set for HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - Ready or not, the Cleveland Browns are getting their close-up.

Coming off a historic, dismal 0-16 season, the Browns have been chosen to appear on HBO's popular "Hard Knocks" series that gives NFL fans a behind-the-scenes look at training camp.

The Browns have turned down previous opportunities to be on the award-winning series. But with renewed optimism around Cleveland following the recent draft, and the selection of quarterback Baker Mayfield, the team is granting HBO unlimited access to its upcoming camp.

Cleveland is the 13th franchise to participate in "Hard Knocks," which began in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were featured last summer.

Although they've won only one game the past two seasons under coach Hue Jackson, the Browns see the show as a possibility to highlight some of their younger players and put a positive spin on their rebuild.

And for HBO, Mayfield's quest to win the starting job is just one of several juicy story lines.

"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. "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."

HBO's cameras are certain to focus on Mayfield, the brash Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma the Browns chose over other quarterbacks. Mayfield is expected to back up Tyrod Taylor this season, but their competition could make for the kind compelling TV that has made the series a must-watch for football junkies.

A 30-person film crew will be at the team's training facility in Berea to record more than 2,000 hours of footage for the five-segment series that will debut Aug. 7.

The Browns have some good young players who are not well known outside Cleveland. But "Hard Knocks" will give national exposure to budding stars like defensive end Myles Garrett, Mayfield and safety Jabrill Peppers and give the network a chance to tell the well-documented story of former Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has missed most of the past three seasons because of drug suspensions.

Mayfield has experience in front of the cameras. He was recently featured in a recent documentary series as he prepared for the draft, and feels the Browns can make "Hard Knocks" a positive experience.

"For me looking at it, and us as a team, I'd say it can be good if you handle it right. I'll just say that," he said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "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 of, 'OK, I got to block out everything else and just focus on playing ball,' then that can be a great thing for us."

Jackson and Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams have both been on "Hard Knocks" - Jackson with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013 and Williams with the Los Angeles Rams in 2016.

"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," Jackson said. "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."

Browns general manager John Dorsey had reservations about the series, but feels the team is equipped to handle the added scrutiny.

"Once we sat down and talked about it as an organization, I feel a lot better and understand why the time is right," said Dorsey, who has been overhauling the team since being hired in December. "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."

___

For more NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • House hopefuls draw on Trump's refusal to reveal tax returns

    House hopefuls draw on Trump's refusal to reveal tax returns

    Saturday, May 26 2018 11:53 AM EDT2018-05-26 15:53:46 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 7:36 PM EDT2018-05-26 23:36:03 GMT
    (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review via AP). In this May 6, 2018 photo, Democratic congressional candidate Lisa Brown, center, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., greets walkers at the Lilac Bloomsday Run in Spokane, Wash. Preside...(Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review via AP). In this May 6, 2018 photo, Democratic congressional candidate Lisa Brown, center, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., greets walkers at the Lilac Bloomsday Run in Spokane, Wash. Preside...
    House hopefuls releasing tax returns break with norms, capitalize on Trump's refusal to show his.More >>
    House hopefuls releasing tax returns break with norms, capitalize on Trump's refusal to show his.More >>
  • Amid anti-immigrant sentiment, some Spanish speakers wary

    Amid anti-immigrant sentiment, some Spanish speakers wary

    Saturday, May 26 2018 2:14 PM EDT2018-05-26 18:14:01 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 7:36 PM EDT2018-05-26 23:36:00 GMT
    (AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Lilly Mucarsel, a native of Ecuador, poses for a picture in her office Friday, May 25, 2018, in Tustin, Calif. Mucarsel, 62, of Southern California finds herself reverting to English when she attends a baseball game or goes to...(AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Lilly Mucarsel, a native of Ecuador, poses for a picture in her office Friday, May 25, 2018, in Tustin, Calif. Mucarsel, 62, of Southern California finds herself reverting to English when she attends a baseball game or goes to...

    The Trump administration's harsh rhetoric and tougher policies toward immigrants have made some Spanish speakers self-conscious about speaking other languages in public.

    More >>

    The Trump administration's harsh rhetoric and tougher policies toward immigrants have made some Spanish speakers self-conscious about speaking other languages in public.

    More >>
  • Legal hurdles may make Weinstein's prosecution an exception

    Legal hurdles may make Weinstein's prosecution an exception

    Saturday, May 26 2018 9:43 AM EDT2018-05-26 13:43:23 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 7:34 PM EDT2018-05-26 23:34:13 GMT
    (Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News via AP, Pool). Harvey Weinstein, right, appears at his arraignment with his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday, May 25, 2018 in New York. Weinstein is charged with two counts of rape and...(Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News via AP, Pool). Harvey Weinstein, right, appears at his arraignment with his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday, May 25, 2018 in New York. Weinstein is charged with two counts of rape and...
    Harvey Weinstein's arrest in New York Friday is a landmark moment in the #MeToo movement, but it remains uncertain whether it will be repeated in other cases involving powerful men accused of sexual misconduct.More >>
    Harvey Weinstein's arrest in New York Friday is a landmark moment in the #MeToo movement, but it remains uncertain whether it will be repeated in other cases involving powerful men accused of sexual misconduct.More >>
Powered by Frankly