In front of nine television cameras and four dozen media members, Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine couldn't have said it better Friday night.
"It's time for football," said the first year head coach, with genuine happiness in his voice.
It's hard to figure out who is more enthusiastic for the start of training camp: Pettine or City of Cleveland?
Northeast Ohioans are treating Friday evening as if it's Christmas Eve. On Saturday, fans will get a glimpse at what their present will look like – a brand new version of Cleveland Browns football to believe in. Mental toughness. Passionate players. The stage is being set. And the fervor in town is off the charts.
Pettine's one of the most transparent people in the NFL. Here are some revelations regarding Browns he dropped in front of the microphone.
*There were not just conditioning tests for the Browns players; there were also tests in the classrooms upon their arrival. How much were the players reviewing their iPads during the break? Each position coach ran the tests differently. Some blurt out play calls and ask for players assignments. Some make the players go up on the white board and draw out the play. Pettine has taken a firm stance on mental toughness outweighing any other aspect of football. This proves it.
*There has been some speculating on Twitter and local radio programs that all of the Browns positional competitions will be judged mainly on practice, with preseason games carrying less weight. False.
*"Practice is one thing, and you love for a guy to show up and be outstanding in practice – but it's got to carry over," said Pettine. "We're all about Sunday's. We'll put a little bit of extra weight on the scrimmage and we'll certainly put extra weight on the preseason games."
*Pettine's training camps will be physical, but nothing over the top. Saturday and Sunday will be acclimation days with shorts and shells. Monday will be the first day with all pads. Goal line and short yardage drills will get chippy. But there won't be any 'real' live tackling until the Family Day scrimmage in Akron, on August 3rd.
*The Browns have a depth chart in place, but Pettine and his staff are open to anything.
*"Not just at quarterback, but a lot of other positions are open," the Browns head coach told reporters on Friday in Berea. "If a player comes in and they perform better than the guy that we have in place at the one, then we will go ahead and make a change. We will be a team where the best guys play. It's an easy question: who gives us the best chance to win? And they'll play."