BEREA, Ohio -- Tens of thousands of Cleveland Browns fans have walked through the gates of the Berea training facility since training camp opened on Thursday, July 25, and the team rewarded some of their most loyal fans with a special weekend at practice.
The annual Browns Backers Weekend started Friday with a luncheon, followed by practice, and from the minute representatives from nearly 100 Browns Backers clubs walked into the Berea training facility, they noticed positive changes.
“With all the new changes, it just seems a little bit more exciting this year than it has in some of the other years,” said Sue McHale, president of the Onondawga Browns Backers in Syracuse, N.Y. “Some of the changes that have been made just seem more significant. Hopefully, this will be a year we can have something to cheer about.”
Cincinnati's Kurt Boveington, of the Cin-Day Lucky Dawgs in Mason, Ohio, added, “I’m psyched. This is going to be our year. This is the first camp I’ve been at, and I’m enjoying it. It’s a turnaround year this year. I like the new defensive scheme. I like the new coaches; it’s going to be our year.”
Some of the presidents came to enjoy the camaraderie from being around other Browns fans, while others were looking to see how the players responded to the drills on the field.
“I like to see what the new players are doing, how the draft picks are moving around, making sure the quarterbacks are still in good shape, and just seeing how they’re moving, who’s dressing and who’s playing,” said Becky Herbert, from the Englewood Browns Backers in Florida.
“It’s just so exciting to be in Ohio where you see other people in Browns gear,” added McHale. “In Syracuse, the only people you see in Browns outfits are the people in our club. It’s exciting to be here at training camp, to see the players and see what they’re doing, how good of shape they’re in and start to see some actual formations. I love the excitement of the beginning of the season.”
Still others were enjoying the layout of camp, including the addition of more bleachers closer to the field, food trucks, and improved lines of sight to watch drills.
“Football’s here, that’s what it’s all about,” said Joe Prejean of the Browns Backers of Coconut Creek in Florida. “Being here in person and seeing it, it’s a lot bigger than what I saw on websites and stuff. It’s pretty impressive. I wouldn’t like to be the guy that cuts the grass here. It’d be an all-day event, but I like how it’s set up. It’s easy to find everything and the players, you can see (them). They’re pretty close.”
Claudia Janka of the Hotlanta Browns Backers added, “I was so excited to come today that I was like, ‘I can’t wait. I can’t wait to go to training camp.’ It’s like an obsession. I think it looks great. When I walked in, it just looked very neat and professional, a lot better than the other years that I have been here. I really, really like the layout.”