After posting the franchise's first-ever winless season, Browns coach Hue Jackson opened his end-of-year news conference by thanking and apologizing to two groups of people.
One was Cleveland's players, whom he said fought to the bitter end of Sunday's 28-24 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh. The other was a loyal fan base that's now had to endure two remarkably disappointing seasons and a 1-31 record over that span.
"They truly want results," Jackson said Monday. "That's something we need to give them. But nothing I say is going to make a difference. I get that. I think the only way we change the things that are said is to get to winning."
The players have their last day at the training facility in Berea before the offseason.
That objective, of course, has been easier said than done in Cleveland. With one of the league's youngest rosters, the Browns struggled all season with self-inflicted wounds and missed opportunities and joined the 2008 Lions as the only two NFL teams to finish 0-16.
Jackson made clear it's a mark that will sting for some time, acknowledging the team must earn back the trust of its fan base and reshape its reputation with the offseason underway.
"I think being 0-16, the stigma that comes with that is that we are going to have to do some recruiting everywhere," Jackson said. "First of all, not just players, we have to re-recruit our fans. I think we have to re-recruit everybody who is associated with the Cleveland Browns, first and foremost."
Jackson said it starts with winning. He also emphasized actions speak louder than words.
"It's not going to be anything I can really say. We're going to say a lot of things and there are going to be a lot more media opportunities as we go throughout the offseason program and getting into training camp," Jackson said. "None of that will matter until we start playing. I get it. That will be the convincing part."
In the meantime, the Browns will have plenty of time to reflect on the past four months and turn their attention toward a hopefully brighter future.
"It's not going to be words," Jackson said. "It's going to be actions and it's going to be what we do."