Earnest Byner's love for Cleveland is why the legendary running back jumped at the chance to help the Browns. And in this week's edition of Throwback Thursday, he reflects on the team's offseason workouts under first-year coach Hue Jackson.
"What brought me back to Cleveland was 'Believeland,'" Byner said, pointing to the recent ESPN documentary.
"And I came over to visit (former and fellow running back) Kevin Mack and I know (executive vice president of football operations) Sashi (Brown) from down in Jacksonville. But when I came over to visit, K Mack, he was just over walking about and we exchanged greetings and hugs and he asked me to come back over Monday.
"And from there, everything just kind of fell into place."
Byner put in coaches hours during Cleveland's OTAs and minicamps, helping tutor running backs like Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. alongside run game coordinator/running backs coach Kirby Wilson.
Byner said former Browns coach Marty Schottenheimer once told him the ability to communicate was key to be a successful coach.
"(He) taught me years ago that, Earnest, to be a good coach or to do what you want to do, you have to be able to say the very same thing in as many ways as possible," Byner said. "I can kind of feel things from their perspective as well as a player's, I was gifted to be able to have that."
A look back at legendary RB Earnest Byner.
Byner — who spent 14 seasons in the NFL — played for the Browns from 1984 to 1988 and came back to Cleveland from 1994-1995 before calling it a career in 1997. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and won a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins in 1991.
When Byner retired, he ranked 16th on the league's all-time rushing list with 8,261 yards and 56 touchdowns. A versatile player, he also amassed 4,605 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.
"He's a true Cleveland Brown and he gets it," Jackson said last month when asked about what Byner brought to the team.
Byner was optimistic when speaking about the direction of the Browns under Jackson and Brown.
"He and Hue and the leadership and the feel around here," Byner said, "that energy is coming back."