Browns coach de­fends in­vi­ta­tion to Briles

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Tom Withers

BEREA, OHIO >> Browns coach Hue Jack­son de­fended invit­ing ousted Bay­lor coach Art Briles to work with his team.

Briles was fired by the school in May amid a sex­ual as­sault scan­dal in­volv­ing sev­eral for­mer foot­ball play­ers. He at­tended Cleve­land’s prac­tice on Wed­nes­day at the re­quest of Jack­son, who also had Briles as a guest dur­ing train­ing camp and asked him back.

“He is a tremen­dous of­fen­sive-minded foot­ball coach,” Jack­son said fol­low­ing Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice. “I’m al­ways look­ing at dif­fer­ent ways of do­ing things and pre­par­ing things. What hap­pened at Bay­lor is at Bay­lor.”

Briles wore Browns coach­ing gear on the field and spent most of his time with the team’s quar­ter­backs dur­ing the por­tion of the work­out open to re­porters. He did not speak to the me­dia.

Jack­son said he un­der­stood why there might be ques­tions re­gard­ing his will­ing­ness to bring in Briles.

“I think ev­ery­body de­serves an op­por­tu­nity to kind of do what they do,” Jack­son said. “I re­spect ev­ery­body’s feel­ings and I don’t con­done any­thing or not, but that is not for me to judge. The op­por­tu­nity to pick his brain and to have him be around and talk to him and get to know him out­side of all of that in a dif­fer­ent ca­pac­ity was what was im­por­tant to me.”

Jack­son made it clear Briles is his guest and will not be here for “a long time.” When he vis­ited Cleve­land ear­lier this sum­mer, Briles spent time talk­ing with sev­eral of his for­mer play­ers who are now Browns: quar­ter­back Robert Grif­fin III, rookie wide re­ceiver Corey Cole­man, of­fen­sive line­man Spencer Drango and wide re­ceiver Josh Gor­don, who re­cently en­tered a re­hab fa­cil­ity days be­fore his NFL sus­pen­sion ex­pired.

The 60-year-old Briles was sus­pended in May af­ter a law firm re­leased a 13-page re­port that ac­cused Bay­lor coaches and staff of in­ter­fer­ing with in­ves­ti­ga­tions into sex­ual as­sault com­plaints against some play­ers, and even im­ped­ing po­ten­tial crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings.

Jack­son did not dis­cuss Briles’ past but be­lieves he will get a chance to res­ur­rect his ca­reer. Cleve­land’s coach dis­cussed bring­ing in Briles with the team’s man­age­ment group be­fore ex­tend­ing his in­vi­ta­tion.

“We have all been kind of knocked down be­fore. I have, too,” Jack­son said. “I have been un­fairly judged be­fore and judged cor­rectly, too. I try not to do that with peo­ple. I try to take peo­ple for face value and who they are and what they are. I just know I have met him and have talked to him ex­ten­sively, and I think what­ever has hap­pened at Bay­lor, I am not con­don­ing or him be­ing here says that we con­done any­thing. I have talked this through with our up­per man­age­ment be­cause I asked is it OK for him to be here with me as my guest, and I got the OK.

“It was a good con­ver­sa­tion with our peo­ple here and I think they un­der­stood where I was com­ing from. I don’t want to make it seem like, well, I’m try­ing to ex­tend the olive branch. I’m try­ing to learn some other things that I think are good, but also get­ting to know some­body on a whole dif­fer­ent level, which I think is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

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