BEREA, Ohio– Mike Patrick's memories of the Browns start with Jim Brown and Bobby Mitchell, and he was in the broadcast booth for the team's official return in 1999.
His connection to the franchise will continue in 2015 when he teams with Solomon Wilcots to call three of Cleveland's preseason games on WEWS NewsChannel 5. ESPN will broadcast the Browns' Aug. 20 game against Buffalo at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Jim Donovan and Doug Dieken will serve as the radio broadcast team on Browns preseason games and also call their 17th consecutive regular season together.
"I know this is going to be exciting because I think it's a great time for sports in Cleveland with LeBron coming back, and I know the Indians dug themselves a hole but that's a very talented baseball team and such a long season," Patrick said. "The Browns did some good things in the draft, I thought. They addressed needs the team had instead of playing for a big splash. I think that's the right way to approach it to rebuild a franchise and build a winner is to address the offensive and defensive lines."
Patrick and Wilcots worked together when the Browns opened the 1999 season against the Pittsburgh Steelers on ESPN's Sunday Night Football. Patrick was Sunday Night Football's play-by-play voice from 1987 to 2005 while Wilcots was a sideline reporter from 1998 to 2000.
The team of Patrick, Wilcots, Joe Theisman and Paul Maguire won a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Live Sports Series.
"They kind of raised me in the business of doing games. I learned a lot by watching them for three years," said Wilcots, who served as the analyst on last year's Browns preseason broadcast team. "I'm excited. When I got the news, I was like, 'wow.' I'm looking forward to it. Obviously working with Jim Donovan is a real pro and loved every minute of it.
"Now to be able to work with a guy like Mike, who I began working with some years ago, is really great."
Patrick has worked for ESPN since 1982 and currently calls NCAA men's basketball, football and baseball games. Wilcots, who spent six years in the NFL as a safety for the Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers, splits his time as an analyst for NFL Network and CBS Sports.
"Mike Patrick is one of the most respected NFL and college football television play-by-play professionals in the business," said Kevin Griffin, Browns vice president of fan experience and marketing. "We are thrilled that WEWS News Channel 5 was able to secure Mike Patrick and Solomon Wilcots, two broadcast veterans, as our broadcast team for Cleveland Browns preseason television games in 2015."
In his role as a college football broadcaster, Patrick got a close look at a number of Browns players before they entered the NFL. He was particularly impressed with offensive lineman Cameron Erving, the Florida State product whom the Browns selected 19th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.
"He's going to be a terrific guard or tackle wherever they decide to put him," said Patrick, who is in his 49th year as a sports broadcaster. "I saw him several times at FSU and he is a legitimate big-time player.
"What a beautifully rich history the franchise has. I'm going to be excited to hopefully be a part of it for quite a while and watch them try to write another chapter in that history."
Wilcots said he was eyeing Washington defensive lineman Danny Shelton, whom he referred to as a "Haloti Ngata type talent," as a potential Browns player in his months of analysis leading up to the draft. When it came to be, Wilcots was "ecstatic."
"They were able to round out the draft and get really good players," Wilcots said. "It's great to be back with the Browns. I believe in what they're doing as a team. I like the way they've built their team through the draft."* *
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