It was a momentous day in Berea as the Browns introduced the youngest general manager in NFL history, Andrew Berry.
The Browns' Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager has been on the job for a little more than a week and has "has already begun to put his mark on the Browns," owner Jimmy Haslam said.
Here are the five newsiest items that stood out during Berry's 30 minutes behind the podium.
1) Browns will be "scouting-centered" under Berry's watch
Berry addressed the elephant in the room before he took a single question. As the Browns put together their roster for 2020 and beyond, they'll use analytics as a important tool in their daily operations, but it won't be what defines them.
The Browns, Berry said, will have a "scouting-centered front office."
"I have always believed and I continue to believe scouting to be the lifeblood of roster building in the NFL," Berry said. "We also are going to incorporate information, research and insights into our decision-making. I was thinking about it as we were watching the Super Bowl this past weekend, and the best team in the NFC in the San Francisco 49ers, the best team in our own division the Baltimore Ravens and the best team in the NFC East and the organization that I came from with the Philadelphia Eagles are all industry leaders in this space. We would be silly not to push on every area that can give us a competitive advantage as we make decisions.
"We are really going to evaluate the opinions of our experts who go on the road on the college side and who know the NFL, know the league on the pro side. They are going to carry a very, very heavy weight in how we make player decisions. It is as simple as that."
2) How Berry hit it off with Stefanski
Berry and Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski met more than 10 years ago at the Senior Bowl after an introduction between mutual friends. In 2019, when Berry was in his final months as Cleveland's Vice President of Player Personnel, they reunited when Stefanski went through the interview process the first time around for the Browns' head coach opening.
In the year between interviews, when Stefanski went back to his role as offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings and Berry took on a new job as Vice President of Football Operations with the Philadelphia Eagles, the two remained in touch and maintained a "genuine friendship."
"I can assure everybody in this room that outside of Kevin's wife, Michelle, there is no bigger believer and supporter of Kevin than me," Berry said. "Kevin and I have a shared vision regarding football philosophy, culture and servant leadership that we think will lead towards success, and that forms the core basis for my excitement for what I know will be a deeper partnership over the next several years."
3) Backing Baker
Berry was in the room when the Browns made Baker Mayfield the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. He was among the "organizational consensus" that believed he was the best man for the job in a loaded quarterback class, and he hasn't wavered from that stance two years later.
"Still have a lot of belief in Baker as a quarterback, his talent and what we think he can become in the NFL," Berry said. "Looking forward to seeing what Kevin, (offensive coordinator) Alex (Van Pelt) and his staff do with Baker this spring and into the fall. We are really excited about his future, and I am really excited about the work that Kevin is going to do with him."
Mayfield, who broke the NFL record with 27 touchdown passes during his rookie season, completed 59 percent of his passes for 3,827 yards with 22 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions in 2019.
4) Berry's stance on character, off-field issues follows mantra he and Stefanski share
Berry said he and Stefanski have both had meetings recently with WR Odell Beckham Jr. and RB Kareem Hunt, who respectively made headlines over the past month for off-field issues. Each situation is different, but a similar mantra was applied to both and will be applied with the rest of the roster.
Players must be "smart, tough and accountable," and that goes beyond what they do on the field.
"Obviously with Kareem, we have communicated our expectations for him moving forward," Berry said. "We want guys who are going to be smart, tough and accountable both on and off the field. Kareem understands that, and we are looking forward to him meshing with our culture moving forward.
"In terms of Odell, both of us have had really good conversations. He is one of the most talented receivers in the league, and we are certainly happy to have him here. Everybody is going to have to fit into our culture in terms of being smart, tough and accountable, and both of those guys know that."
5) Too early to talk pending free agents
The Browns have more than a month before the start of free agency, and Berry used that length of time as a reason to not disclose the organization's stance on a number of players set to hit the market in mid-March.
LB Joe Schobert, S Damarious Randall, WR Rashard Higgins and LT Greg Robinson are among the numerous players Cleveland has the ability to re-sign, if it chooses to do so, before the new league year begins March 18.
"That is something that we are going to work through over the next several weeks," Berry said. "Part of it is certainly continuing to get input from our pro personnel staff and part of it is again, getting input from our incoming coaching staff, as well, before we head off sprinting in any direction in terms of free agents."
As he gets his team in line for the important events of the coming months, Berry added he did not necessarily see the need to replace the front office positions filled by Alonzo Highsmith, Eliot Wolf and Steve Malin before the draft.
"With those three guys, all three different situations. Really thankful for the contributions that they have made to the organization," Berry said. "I am not going to get into any specifics regarding staffing dynamics at this point. We have a lot of really talented people and talented evaluators that are already in the building, and we will revisit that over the next couple of months and certainly after the draft."