Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur had to deal with a lot during his first season on the job in 2011.
From a 132-day work-stoppage that eliminated the offseason organized team activities and minicamps to an injury-riddled backfield, Shurmur handled the challenges that came his way and carried a fourth quarter lead in eight of 16 games, including four of the first six of the season.
After Shurmur and the Browns continued their preparations for the 2012 season with Thursday morning’s training camp practice at the team’s Berea facility, the team learned of another unique situation.
Shurmur said the news of the sale of controlling interest of the Browns to Jimmy Haslam and his family would not disrupt his plans with the team.
“I have no fear,” Shurmur said. “I have no fear about any of that because I trust my coaches, I trust the players and I’ve watched the work they’ve done based on the conversation of this last week. I’ve watched the work that they’re doing and I have no fear. I think we’re moving full steam ahead. That doesn’t bother me one bit at this point. My concern is getting this team ready to play and our players understand that message and they are doing a good job.”
Shurmur’s feelings were backed up by those of his players, including linebacker
“Last week, we got the announcement, so we knew it was coming, but here it is and this is one of those things that’s above-and-beyond our control,” Fujita said. “We just can’t worry about it and have to come in, focus and get better. That’s our job as players.
“We can’t let it (distract us) because we don’t know what kind of changes may be in store now, in the future. All we know is we’ve got a game next week in the preseason and we’ve got to focus on it.”
Fujita is an 11-year veteran who played for the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints before signing as a free agent with the Browns prior to the 2010 season. Having seen a lot during his time in the NFL, Fujita knows the coaches and players will continue with their business on the football field and in the classroom.
“Coaches are like lab rats and hamsters, just like us,” Fujita said. “You come into work every day and they hand us a schedule and you go to work and you grind. You’ve got to block everything else out, especially in this business. The focus has got to be on just getting better. This is a team that won four games last year and the focus is on that. That’s it. We can’t worry about anything else.”
“I can’t speak for other guys, but it doesn’t change my job,” Moore said. “As long as I’m here and wearing a Browns jersey, I’m going to do the same thing.”
“Our goal is always going to be the same,” Gocong said. “Our long-term goal is obviously to win, so it really doesn’t affect us on the field.”