WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — The Browns on Saturday kicked off their first day of training camp in some unfamiliar — yet comfortable — territory in the area they'll call home for the next week.
Sunny skies and green mountains surrounded the team as they took the practice fields at the Sports Performance Center at The Greenbrier for a short walk-through practice. The team arrived at the resort earlier in the morning to begin an experience head coach Kevin Stefanski believes will bring together the team in the first stages of the football season.
"It's such a beautiful place," Stefanski said. "The Greenbrier staff here have been outstanding, and we're really excited to be down here to start camp. That's the fun part of this is that this is the start of our season."
Check out photos of the team conducting their first walk-thru at the Greenbrier before Training Camp
The Browns got to work immediately after arriving at the Grand Central Hotel — located in the middle of the resort and serving as the centerpiece of the property since 1858 — and began with their standard pre-practice meetings and exercises prior to stepping on the grass for their first practice together since June.
The week will be a gradual ramp-up in intensity, with the primary goals being to not only begin rehearsing all the plays and situations the Browns will face in the regular season, but also take advantage of the activities and environment conducive to building team chemistry.
"Team building and team bonding, those are organic," Stefanski said. "What this allows us to do is that here, obviously, we're landlocked. We're in the middle of nowhere by design, and that really forces you to be around your teammates."
Some of those activities — such as golfing, bowling, fishing and other outdoor activities — will need to be saved until the team's first off day, which won't come until Wednesday. All other days of the trip, which runs until July 30, are practice days.
The Browns scheduled the trip to change the usual training camp pace for the extra week of practices they received as a result of being scheduled to play in the Hall of Fame Game. That game, set to take place in Canton against the Jets on Aug. 3, is a "Week 0" of sorts for the Browns, who will look to take advantage of having the extra practices and game to prepare for the season, all while still monitoring the workloads of the team's top veterans.
"That preseason game vs. the Jets is an awesome opportunity for our young players, so we'll really get a ton of reps for our young players in that game," Stefanski said.
In the meantime, the Browns will look forward to some more practices and opportunities to bond in their new unique, temporary home.
"It's all just guys being around each other more, doing things outside of football," cornerback Denzel Ward said. "You already see guys talking more, communicating more, so you can just feel it."