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With energy and optimism, Browns look to keep Berea buzzing

When he got back to Cleveland following an offseason of traveling and relaxation, Christian Kirksey took note of how Berea seemed to be buzzing.

From an ongoing renovation of team's facility to first-year coach Hue Jackson and a new coaching staff, there's lot going on as the Browns immerse themselves in offseason workouts.

"The building's getting renovated, players are just coming in from the offseason and traveling and all that, and it's just high energy," Kirksey said. "Everybody is just building that chemistry."

The third-year linebacker wasn't alone in his observation. Left guard Joel Bitonio echoed a similar sentiment during an interview on Cleveland Browns Daily last week.

"When you get a new coaching staff and new people and they're doing great things with the facility, you want to be back here," he said. "I had enough time to relax and now I'm ready to work. The first couple of days of workouts have been really awesome, I think we're going in a good direction."

So does Demario Davis, the team's newest addition at linebacker who comes to Cleveland after starting for the New York Jets. From Jackson to the players to newly-appointed executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, Davis said their enthusiasm helped guide him to Northeast Ohio.  

"The new staff, new regime, you can kind of feel the optimism. They are trying to go in a different direction," said Davis, who added he went through a similar experience at Arkansas State. "I have kind of seen that, and I have a similar feeling. When I came here, I could feel it. I just wanted to be a part of the journey."

Of course, that journey is underway as the Browns are set to enter the next phase of the offseason with their voluntary veteran minicamp next week.

And in between then and now, Jackson and Co. will be hard at work shaping this year's team following a string of disappointing seasons. 

The Browns returned to Berea this week to begin offseason workouts.

"We know we have a job to do. Like I said, we're just going to keep working at it each and every day. Our job is to win. We are not going to just show up and roll the ball out and say, 'You can have it,'" he said.

"We have a lot of work to do, but I think this team, if they keep working and keep pushing, has a chance to do something that people maybe think they can't, but we will see. It's way too early to talk about those things. I have said it from the day I sat up here before: I expect to win. Please, I expect to win. Our players expect to win, and we understand that in order for that to happen, we have to work to win. That is all we are about right now. We are not about anything else other than that."

If there's an energy in Berea, consider Jackson at the epicenter of it.

"He made it clear that it's a new era for Cleveland Browns football. He wanted to make sure that we're going out there and we're being professionals in everything we do and that's going to carry over to the field," Bitonio said of Jackson's message to the team this spring.

"And for us, being a team that's in rebuilding mode right now, we're just trying to do everything right, everything as good as we can so we can give ourselves a chance to compete and win games."

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