Browns to be featured on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’
CLEVELAND — 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-thescenes 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.
“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.”
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 mustwatch 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.
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,” Dorsey said.