Skip to main content


Hue Jackson, Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta press conference - 7/28

Opening statement:

Jackson:"It's good to be back. It's always an exciting time of the year, especially for football when you get ready to go to training camp. I wanted to make sure that I commended our staff and the crew that worked here on this building. It is an exciting building for our football players and our team and it's something I think our guys will be very proud to be a part of being here every day because I think they did a great job of getting this building up and running and having it ready for when our players walked into the building. I'm very excited about that, as well. This is another opportunity for us to get back. It's another part of our process of getting our football team ready to go for the season."

Brown:"Great start from the spring. Carry that over and the work that we'll put in this summer is really important. We're excited to see the guys back. I know they're excited to be here so I won't say too much more than that. I know you have a ton of questions. We're ready to get going, and the excitement is in the building. I'm sure we'll see it translate out on the field with the work effort."

DePodesta:"Nothing different here. Obviously, I'm very excited. This is novel for me and looking forward to my first training camp and just continuing to have an opportunity to learn an awful lot, hopefully over the course of the next six weeks."

On if they are satisfied with the steps RB Isaiah Crowell has taken to attempt to turn a negative situation into a positive one:

Brown:"It starts with, obviously, great disappointment in the action first place. We don't skip past that. Crow to his credit called both Hue and I on his own to be accountable. He had wanted to make steps. Obviously, it was a huge mistake for him. We will have some discussions internally and handle it internally, but he has taken the steps that I think at least at the outset that he should rightfully so to make something that was very wrong into a right. We'll use that as a teaching lesson for the entire team. It's something that Hue preaches. It was disappointing but hopefully, from some of this, some good can come."

On if there is a concern about the reaction Crowell might receive from fans and that some fans may never forgive him:

Jackson:"That could be the case and rightfully so. As Sashi just said, it was very disappointing, but at the same time, we don't feel like that's Crow's character. I truly believe that he will continue to work at making this right, and I think that's very important to all three of us sitting up here that he does continue to do his part as far as making sure that that's right. Sashi said it best – it's going to be an opportunity for us to really teach our team. It's unfortunate it's that kind of a lesson to learn, but sometimes that's what it is. More so than that, I truly believe that this is not who Isaiah Crowell is. I hope that everybody just gives him an opportunity to prove that as we move forward."

On conversations with WR Josh Gordon about his return and his mindset after being away from football so long:

Brown:"He's excited to be back. We are glad to have him back. It's a long time for a player who's on your roster to be away from the team. Just to get him back into the structure and with his teammates in the building, I think it will be a very healthy thing for him. I'm not going to get into the details of the conversation, but certainly welcomed him back and set the expectations for his being here. Certainly, showed our support for him and wanted to make sure we understand how we can help him. It was a quick turn. We got word from the league and he showed up here less than 24 hours later. We're doing our best. We'll continue to get a handle on the situation and we'll work with Josh through that."

On making the decision to allow Gordon to return to the team:

Brown:"We had an opportunity to speak with Josh while he was out through certainly the folks in our player engagement department, but also we're in close contact with the league. We did have communications with them to understand what his meeting with the (NFL) commissioner (Roger Goodell) was like and what they took away from it. We were able to talk to Josh when he got here, as well. If the message from Josh and the pledge from Josh wasn't consistent with what we wanted to see from him, we would've made a different decision. That wasn't the case. He in earnest wants to make the most of this opportunity, and he knows his situation. We're going to get around him and give him the opportunity."

On if the Browns are confident the team can rely on Gordon all year:

Jackson:"Obviously, we're going to find that out. He's going to have to be accountable to what it is that he needs to do, first and foremost. We understand that the league has expectations for him, and we do, too. We shared those with him, and I truly believe that he wants to make it right, as well. What's important – I think you guys know how I kind of go about it – is his slate's clean with me. I don't have a lot of history with Josh that way, but his history is preceding him. I think he knows that. I think the only way to deal with a player in these situations is to kind of hit the restart button for him and he has to go do it. Like I said, the league has said what their expectations are. We have set what our expectations are. We've laid it out, and I think that it's crystal clear what needs to happen as we move forward."

On if the Browns were surprised Gordon returned with an injury and how it complicates Gordon's preseason:

Jackson:"Honestly, it wasn't disappointing because again, you're talking about a player that we didn't have any contact with. I'm sure just knowing him that he was probably trying to do everything he could to get himself in the best shape that he possibly could. We'll have a plan in place to manage him as we move forward. The most important thing is just getting him healthy first, and then after we get him through that process, then we'll move on to the next plan that we have to get him to where he needs to be."

On what his approach will be with Gordon to keep him on the field:

Jackson:"I don't know if it's just me. I think it's the environment that we have here. I think there's a different culture here. The players – it won't just be myself and the staff – it will also be his teammates that will help him be a part of this and be accountable because we're all going to lift each other up and help each other be the best we can be. That's where it all starts. It's not just me. Obviously, I'm kind of the head of this from that standpoint, but it kind of all trickles down. We will all try to help each other as much as we can. We'll be there for him. I'm not saying that there won't be any bumps in the road. We all understand there possibly could be, but at the same time, we'll dust him off and get him back to where he needs to be as fast as we can."

On his individual track record of success and his former team of the Bengals being known for giving guys multiple chances:

Jackson:"I appreciate you saying that. I try not to compare situations. Obviously, I've been through this a little bit. At the same time, I think our structure here with Paul and Sashi and then the support from Dee and Jimmy (Haslam) and the players, I really feel good about our team because it all starts in the locker room. If a player really wants to change, you have to create an environment for him to change. I know with these two men that are sitting up here with me that we're going to make sure that we have the right structure in place for him and I think that it works over in the locker room. Like I said with our veteran players, the guys that we have here with him before who understand maybe some of the shortcomings that he's had the in the past and that we can help manage him through those. At the end of the day, I think Josh truly understands and believes it's about him. He has to do this himself. He's a grown man. This is pro football and he has to be accountable that way to be part of this as we move forward."

On how the Brown felt about Gordon being seen at events with former Browns QB Johnny Manziel:

Jackson:"Honestly, I had no feeling about it because at the end of the day, we didn't have any contact with him."

Brown:"I'll echo what Hue said. I'm not going to get into that. I think that we can move past it."

On the deciding factor to bring back Gordon, who has been suspended for at least one game in four consecutive years:

Brown:"For us, it's about Josh wanting to make a change and having the opportunity. We've got 90 guys on the roster right now and he's one of those young men that has an opportunity. We'll find out very quickly if he's serious about it. We believe that he is, but we'll hold him accountable. He's going to have to hold himself accountable. Frankly – let's be honest – there's nothing we're going to be able to do to force Josh to change. The change is going to be within him. We will support him through that as teammates, as front office staff, as coaches and as player development specialists, but the change is going to have to be within Josh. We think and I think the NFL thinks he's got a good opportunity to do that."

On Jackson's no tolerance policy with players' off-field conduct and representing the franchise and if that is firm with Gordon:

Jackson:"Oh, it's firm, but I think that every case has to be dealt with individually. Again, we're talking about Josh Gordon, a player who hasn't been with this football team. I've had no interaction with him so I think as we move forward, then we can judge that as we go along. Right now, it would be too… It wouldn't be the right thing to do."

On if he watched Gordon's film when he played:

Jackson:"You better believe I did (laughter)."

On if watching film of Gordon had any influence on the Browns' decision:

Jackson:"No, I mean I know who Josh Gordon is as a football player. What really captured me is Josh Gordon as a person. As Sashi said, we won't get into the details of the conversation, but I felt very good about having a conversation with him, and I think he will let you know that we were very open and honest and that there are expectations about how we do things here. We're not going to go backwards. We're only going forward. He has to meet our standards and how we go about our business here. I think he's willing to do that. That's why we're sitting here today with him on our football team."

On if the Browns are ready to name a starting QB:

Jackson:"Whoever earns that job is going to earn it out here on this field, but we're going to go through a process out here pretty soon. It's going to show itself really quickly, and it will definitely be before we play our first preseason game. I know everybody is looking for me to say, 'Here's the guy,' but I still want to get out here with our players because all of them have to earn a starting spot as we move forward. We're going to hit the ground running tomorrow at the start of practice and we'll start evaluating that position, as well as all of the positions as we move forward." 

On whether or not QBs Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown will get even reps during camp and if it is truly an open competition:

Jackson:"It's an open competition everywhere, maybe everybody would say with the exception of (OL) Joe Thomas. We have to earn the right to play for our organization and for our football team, and I think even Joe is going to walk back in this building ready to go and chomping at the bit. I think every player – I don't want to get locked in on whether it's going to be 60/40 or 50/50 – I think what's most important is whatever I think I need to do and our staff needs to do to evaluate, and Sashi and Paul evaluate our players, that's what we'll do. That's what's important moving forward."

On what surprised DePodesta most about his transition from baseball to football:

DePodesta:"Honestly, I think the biggest surprise is just how similar things are. At the end of the day, obviously, the game is very different. There are nuances that need to be addressed, but fundamentally, they are really, really similar. We deal with a lot of the same issues. We're answering the same questions. It's still about people, and at the end of the day, making hopefully quality decisions consistently about people and trying to build a team and a culture. All of that is very, very similar. I think I focused much more on just the differences of the game when I was thinking about making the move, but since I've been here, the rest of that I think is 90 percent of the equation and it's been very comfortable for me."

On what Griffin needs to do to make the coaching staff comfortable with him as the starter moving forward:

Jackson:"Just play the position the way we expect it to be played, and that's at every position. We have an expectation of how that position plays. Contrary to what I think some people feel, he was getting there and has done a good job. I just think that there's still another step. That was OTAs. Like you said, the intensity is going to ramp up a little bit at every position. What's important is we're trying to create a winning football team here because I truly expect to win, as I've said from Day 1. That's what we're going to set out to do at every position."

On what kind of expectations the fans should have for this season:

Brown:"They should hold us accountable, just as Hue said. The expectation here should be winning. Our roster is obviously younger than some of the other teams in our division as we've brought in a lot of young guys, but as we've told them and we will tell them in the team meeting this afternoon, this isn't about taking a year off or looking up in two or three years. This is about starting with the first rep out here tomorrow, getting better and competing every single snap. That will translate into our games in the preseason and certainly the regular season so when we get to Philadelphia, we're ready to go, but you can't look past the work that it's going to take to get there and to establish the culture that we've started building some of that foundation in the spring and we'll continue to build on that here in training camp."

On how the Browns will acclimate all of the young players and new players to playing in the AFC North:

Jackson:"We have some older ones, too. We have some older ones, too (laughter). I don't know any other way to do this but to chase winning and to chase perfection each and every day. As you do that, you never know what you can hit on. This is football. There's no exact science to how this works. There's no magical way of predicting what the record is going to be. The guys in that locker room are going to determine how good we're going to be by how they work. I don't think it has anything to do with being young, old, in between, any of that. It has to do with our process, how we practice, how we go about understanding the opponent, how we go about resting and all the things that I know that Paul is involved with and Sashi is involved with to get our football team to be the best that we can be. If we do it better than 31 of the other teams in the National Football League, then we got something special happening, and that's all we're chasing and that's all we're after. Now, what the record is going to be, I don't know, but at the end of the day I know this – we're going to win, and we're going to expect to win."

On changing the expectations and the culture of the organization to expect to win:

Jackson:"It's on its way. Do I think it's exactly where it needs to be? No because that's going to really start to change when the Ws go in the column. What I've done and tried to do, along with Sashi and Paul, is to really talk to our team about expecting to win. If you expect to win, that means you're willing to do all the work that it takes to put yourself in the position to win. These men (Brown and DePodesta) are really responsible for helping me along the process by acquiring good players and putting them on this team. Obviously, the draft was the start of it for us and our offseason program was the other part of it. Hiring (director of high performance) Adam Beard in the weight room is a huge part of it, and I think the rest of our team that surrounds our football team is very important to this process, too. I feel very good about where we're headed, and I think our players understand that when you get out of the car and you walk in this building, it's all about work. It's nothing else. There are no egos. There is none of that. All we try to do is work every day and put our head down and become the best we can be. Then we'll let everything else fall where it's going to fall."

On what to expect from the league with LB Armonty Bryant following the resolution of his legal case:

Brown:"I don't know what to expect with Armonty. I think the league is going to review it. I'm not sure of that, but we will be in touch with them when they engage. I wish I had more for you, but I just don't right now."

On if the Browns have plans to release Bryant at this time:

Brown:"No, not at this point."

On what the Browns will do in terms of moving players around on the defensive line after the injury to DL Desmond Bryant:

Jackson:"We'll do whatever we have to do to have a good defensive football team. I think (defensive coordinator) Ray Horton is committed to that, and I know Sashi and Paul are committed to helping us, and (vice president of player personnel) Andrew Berry finding other players if need be. We have some guys here on the roster that we're excited to see and see what they can do for our football team. It's very unfortunate that it happened with Des, because I think he was on his way to having a great season. He had a great offseason, and obviously, that happened away from here so it's tough. At the same time, we know injuries are going to happen. It won't be the last injury we have. We're going to – knock on wood – hopefully we don't have too many, and one thing I will preach to our football team is it's truly about the next man up. Whoever is that next guy that has got to go, he's got to go get it done. I know that's a kind of cliché term, but I think that's the way you have to approach this and that's the way our football team will."

On DB Joe Haden and how his recovery is going:

Jackson: "Outstanding. He's chomping at the bit. We have to kind of put our arms around him and slow him down a little bit because he's ready to get back out there, and he's close, very close. I'm excited about getting him back out there with our football team and playing, but he's done an outstanding job of getting himself healthy. We have a little ways to go, but I think he's close. I'm excited to watch him once he gets an opportunity to get back on the field."

On if the Browns required the NFL to allow Josh Gordon to be with the team during his suspension:

Brown:"We didn't control the terms of his reinstatement. That's determined by the NFL. If we could mandate it, we would have had that conversation. We do think it's healthier for Josh to be within a structure, and we appreciate that facet of his terms of reinstatement, but we weren't able to dictate that to the league."

On if the Browns requested such terms regarding Josh Gordon's suspension:

Brown:"No, we did not. We had some conversations with them, very preliminary about what might be helpful. We've had these conversations with them about Josh, but generally, also about how the program works. I know they solicit information from time to time from teams and try to learn from their experiences, too, and improve upon the program. I think this will be an interesting opportunity for a team to show what a player back and within a structure can do. We plan to support Josh the best we possibly can during this time."

On why Gordon is suspended for four more games:

Brown:"I don't know that. I would let the league answer that."

On if the QB competition may decrease development of either Griffin or McCown due to fewer reps:

Jackson:"Obviously, you wish you obviously knew [who the starter will be] as you're alluding to so that you can give the guy all the reps that he needs, but we're not at that point yet. There's still a little time as we go through the start of training camp before that decision has to be made. Again, I don't want to rush into anything until I feel like we're getting close to that point to have to do that. I don't think we're at that point yet, but at some point in time, as I said earlier, we'll make that decision and we'll move forward."

On feeling good about the number of players the Browns have at each position entering training camp:

Jackson:"I do. I really do. I feel good about the numbers. I feel good about our players. I feel good about where we are."

On if there is a specific focus on any of the positions during camp:

Brown:"I'm always eager to see the big guys up front. We've got some new faces along the offensive line including a couple of draft picks there so I'm eager to see what happens there. I know it's going to be a big component of our offense, which is running the ball. I'll be watching that closely."

On former Bengals WR Chad Johnson's and former Browns RB Ernest Byner's roles during training camp:

Jackson: "Chad is just going to assist (senior offensive assistant) Al (Saunders) and (offensive quality control/assistant wide receivers coach) Bob Saunders. Obviously, you guys know my relationship with Chad. Chad wants to try his hand at coaching, and what better place to learn than from Al Saunders? I mean he's the best in the business. We've afforded him the opportunity to be here and to see if coaching is for him. Ernest was here with us in the spring and did a tremendous job so we've invited him back to be here for training camp. Looking forward to working with Ernest. I'm sure our players are, too, so that'll be fun."

On how much pressure is on WR Corey Coleman:

Jackson:"A lot, a lot. That's why we drafted him. He's a tremendous football talent, and he's tough. I think he wants to be good. They say, 'Pressure bust pipes," you know, that's what they say. I think Corey likes that. I think that is kind of the way he's built. He wants to be the best. The first thing he said to me when I saw him was, 'Coach, I want to be the best receiver on this football team.' I truly believe that he is going to work to do that. I think he's in tip-top shape. I think he learned from the spring where he needed to be and I think he's ready to go."

On how much player development has been lacking for the Browns in previous years and its importance now:

DePodesta:"I can't comment on what it was like before. Obviously, I wasn't here. I can just tell you from our standpoint it's going to be really important going forward. I think that we look at it maybe a little differently than other teams have looked at it in the past. There are a lot of different elements that go into player development. I think that we are going to look to really collaborate all of those different elements, just to make sure that we are all on the same page. It's really indicative of the way we really work together in general. It's not just player development. It's even the way we approach the draft. Everybody from all of these different areas sort of weighs in. Different people with different levels of expertise in different areas get a chance to weigh in, to try to come up with the best possible answer in any particular situation. Player development is going to be one of those where we really draw upon all of those different resources, whether it's Adam (Beard) or whether it's the coaches, or whether it's (head athletic trainer) Joe Sheehan, sports psychology, whatever it might be. I think we are going to be incorporating all of those different types of elements. It will be an important part of what we do."

On how the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA Championship impacts the Browns:

Brown:"I think I have talked about this previously, but when I came here, I came because of in part because of the fans. I know how great Cleveland fans are. I was really excited for the city, the community and certainly all of the sports fans here that have been through so much – as well documented, recently. It was exciting, it was exciting for us. Our players got into it. We all desperately want to win. I'm not sure it ratchets up any pressure because we put so much pressure and we so desperately want to win on our own, but absolutely, I think the fans should have high expectations for us. Every time we go out, we have those same high expectations, regardless if the Cavs or Indians are doing great. I think (Cleveland Indians President) Chris (Antonetti) and his team are doing an outstanding job as well. Hopefully, they win another World Series and put some more pressure on us."

On if any of them went to the Cavaliers championship parade:

Jackson:"No sir."

On QBs summer development with QB coach Tom House:

Jackson:"I haven't seen them yet. We'll see them tomorrow out on the field. I would think those guys are, you know, where they need to be. Obviously, spending time with Tom and Adam (Dedeaux) is a great bridge for them as we get ready to start training camp."

On when the Browns hope to name a starting QB:

Jackson:"Before the first preseason game. You have to. It's just the right thing to do. So you guys will be sitting here two weeks from now, saying 'Here we go.'"

On the biggest focus for this year's Browns training camp:

Jackson:"One, we need to remain healthy, but I think the biggest thing that we need to do is become very efficient at blocking, tackling and taking the ball away and protecting the ball. Those four things, if we can accomplish that before we get ready Philadelphia, we'll be well on our way to where we need to be. Now, that's a lot of work. I said a lot of things right there, but I think our players are up to the challenge and our coaches are. We are looking forward to the grind of doing that."

On previously mentioning it will be a hard-hitting training camp and if he has backed off at all:

Jackson:"That hasn't changed. It'll be fun. That's the only way you get to play football."

On the discussion of having of a hard-hitting training camp between coaching and sports science:

Jackson:"That was a conversation with them, but I think they get it. We all do this kind of together. There's no question in my mind that they support exactly my feeling of what it is that we need to do. Obviously, they told me somethings that we need to make sure we are mindful of and that I'm mindful of, as well, which I totally accept. At the end of the day, we all understand in order for us to become a good football team that there are certain things that we must do well. In this league, if you don't block or tackle extremely well, if you don't affect the quarterback and you can't run the ball very well, then there are going to be some issues. At the end of the day, all three of us and the rest of our organization are linked. I'll keep saying it to do one thing – winning. Whatever we think it takes to win, we are going to do."

On if full pads will be worn tomorrow:

Jackson:"No sir. You can't do that. The CBA won't let you do that.

Brown:"But as soon as we can."

Jackson:"Absolutely. Sunday. Sunday we will be in pads."

On if Browns players were involved in the discussions to bring Gordon back:

Brown: "Not the meetings within, but we did talk to our players. One of the things Hue, Paul and I believe in is making sure that we respect the players and that this is their locker room, as well. We did take some input from some of the players who had been around when Josh was here. We are not going to go into the details of what those conversations were, but I can at least say there was support. One thing that I will say about Josh – I am not trying to defend him – but he is at his core a good person. He's not as quite as portrayed in the media. He's made a lot of bad decisions. He's accountable for that, but I think these guys know him at his core. If he were different, I don't know if they would welcome him back, but there was an openness to it. He's going to have to prove himself, that he can be relied upon as a teammate. In earnest, I think these guys know that his spirit at least is in a place where that's a possibility with him."

On the stress and impact on Crowell and if he can overcome it:

Jackson:"There's no question that it could. I will say it again, these two gentlemen that I'm with and our organization and his teammates, we all truly believe what kind of man this young guy is. We're going to help him as much as we can. He understands the situation. I think he knows where he is and what he needs to do. I think he knows that part of him being better is being around his teammates, and being around us. I think he's looking forward to being with those guys, but I think he's also looking forward to making this right so that he can put this behind him and move forward." 

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content