As he sat behind a podium at his first press conference as Browns general manager, John Dorsey stoked the fires with one of his most memorable soundbites.
“Let’s reawake,” he said, “this sleeping giant.”
For the Browns, as they enter the 2018, those efforts are centered on the field, where a rebuilt roster filled with young talent and sprinkled with valuable experience looks to erase the memories of years’ past, and the organization as a whole.
“Football from the Hardland of America,” a phrase that will be seen on signs, banners and more at Browns training camp, FirstEnergy Stadium and throughout Northeast Ohio, embodies the refreshed identity of the Cleveland Browns.
Consider it a starting point for the next generation of Browns football, which simultaneously hearkens back to the early years of one of football’s most storied franchises.
Nothing fancy. Grit. Determination. Perseverance.
The Browns and the fans who have hung with the team through the highs of the past and the lowest of lows over the last few years fit those characteristics to a T. Now, it’s about wearing it, both literally and figuratively.
When Browns players went through their conditioning test Wednesday, they did so in black shirts emblazoned with four words – hungry, accountable, relentless, determined – with the first letter of each spelling out “HARD.” When the team converged for its first meeting later that night, Browns coach Hue Jackson delivered a simple message. Nothing fancy.
“Let’s move forward,” he said.
These pillars have been vital as the team continues to explore adjustments to its logo and uniforms. Per league rules, the Browns won’t be able to introduce any changes until the 2020 season.
That’s an important year for the team and the league, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Cleveland remains in the running to co-host the 2020 NFL Draft with Canton. In 2021, the Browns will celebrate their 75th anniversary as a franchise.
The Browns organization is tapping into its rich past with eyes locked on the future.