Browns Training Camp in association with Discount Drug Mart is finally here, and it's going to be different than any the 74-year-old franchise has ever experienced.
The Browns and NFL have made numerous adjustments to their traditional training camp schedule, including the elimination of preseason games, and are deploying a variety of important changes to the team's every-day routine to create the safest possible environment for players, coaches, staff members, media and fans as the country continues to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the innovations is "Browns Live: Training Camp," which will take fans on the field and behind the scenes at training camp via live-streaming video.
"While the offseason and training camp are different this year, we are proud of what our players and coaches accomplished virtually and look forward to carrying that positive momentum into this important next stage of preparation for the 2020 season," said Head Coach Kevin Stefanski. "We are excited that our players are returning to the building this week and are eager to work with them in person, while continuing to closely follow all of the new protocols and processes in place that are focused on our entire team's health, safety and overall well-being."
Over the next four days, Cleveland's players will take multiple COVID-19 tests and go through virtual meetings from their respective residences while they await the results. If a player produces three consecutive negative tests, he will be cleared to enter the facility and take his physical examination Saturday and Sunday.
On Monday, Aug. 3, players will begin an acclimation period that will feature 60-minute sessions of conditioning and strength training in groups of no more than 15. The team will be permitted to conduct walk-throughs during this acclimation period, though they'll be limited to 60 minutes during the first four days and 75 minutes for the next four.
Full-team practices are scheduled to begin Friday, Aug. 14 with full-contact practices allowed to begin no earlier than Monday, Aug. 17. Teams will be limited to 14 padded practices.
Throughout the buildup to the season, Browns players, coaches and staff will be tested regularly for COVID-19. Those who receive "Tier 1" or "Tier 2" designation will be tested daily for at least the first 14 days and will then be tested no less than every other day. On Monday, the NFL and NFLPA officially approved the Browns' Infectious Disease Emergency Response (IDER) plan.
Unlike previous years, when thousands of fans flock to Berea to watch the Browns practice, no fans will be permitted at training camps across the league. Still, a new opportunity awaits for Browns fans who want to follow and interact with all of the happenings on the practice fields.
Expanding the new interactive streaming programs created this past offseason, the Cleveland Browns will launch "Browns Live: Training Camp," starting Friday, Aug. 14, to provide fans a unique experience during this year's training camp sessions. This new platform allows fans to engage with the team digitally, given they are unable to attend in-person this season due to COVID-19 protocols. The Browns will stream the live two-hour show on all of the team's media platforms offering fans an exclusive close-up view of all practices, highlighted by in-depth football analysis, sights and sounds from the field and interviews with players, coaches and alumni while also being able to ask questions, share comments and participate with partner promotions and giveaways.
"While we will definitely miss having our fans at training camp this year and the energy they always bring to our team, we recognize this is a unique time and all of us must do our part to help promote the overall health and safety or our players, coaches, staff and fans – both in Berea and throughout our shared communities." said Senior Vice President of Marketing & Media, Fan & Brand Development Dino Bernacchi. "We know our fans also wish they could join us at the facility so we are excited to provide them special access to experience training camp virtually through Browns Live. Since they can't physically be with us this year, we created this show to do everything we could to bring this unique training camp experience to them as our team prepares for the season."
Airing from 2-4 p.m. on the Browns' website, Mobile App, YouTube channel, Twitter and Facebook pages, "Browns Live: Training Camp" will be hosted by Nathan Zegura and Browns Alumnus WR/KR Josh Cribbs, who will be inducted as a Browns Legend in 2020. The duo will breakdown everything that occurs on the Berea practice fields in real time as the Browns prepare for the 2020 season, as well as conduct interviews with special Browns guests each day.
"I'm very excited having football return," Cribbs said. "It's full circle to be able to come back as an active participant in Browns football and be able to cover it. I want to be able to cover the fact that in these trying times, the players are still trying to reach their dreams and have their dreams come true. Those who are selected and will play in the first game, their dreams are coming true."
In addition to clips from daily virtual player interviews, "Browns Live: Training Camp" will highlight Head Coach Kevin Stefanski's daily press conferences.
Fans are encouraged to interact with the program and ask questions on social media that will be incorporated throughout the show. Additionally, fans who tune in will have the opportunity to enter to win special Browns items and experiences, including Pro Shop discounts, autographed items, partner activations and more.
In a letter to fans Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the cancelation of the entire preseason schedule. It's one of many changes the league and teams have implemented to create the best and safest path toward an on-time start to the regular season.
In July, Browns season ticket members were offered the opportunity to opt out of purchasing season tickets for the 2020 season while still retaining their seat location and priority for the 2021 season, along with certain season ticket member benefits this year. Fans can have credits applied to their 2021 balance or select to have a refund when opting out or for any games that are not played, including the preseason.
The Browns are still in the process of finalizing overall fan protocols, a stadium operations plan and ticket availability for the 2020 season. The team continues to diligently prepare to open the season with health and safety as its highest priority. The club has been and will remain in regular communication with state and local authorities, health departments and other medical experts, as well as the NFL and industry-leading consultants, and is committed to following their guidance for operations this season. The Browns will share more information with its season ticket members, and all fans, as it becomes available.