The NFL has yet to announce which team will be featured on Hard Knocks this season, but the Browns are on the list of teams who could be forced to appear. And at least one report has them as the league’s choice.
If that’s true, it’s not going to be a mutual decision, because Browns GM John Dorsey doesn’t seem like a fan of the idea.
“I don’t believe we’re on Hard Knocks,” Dorsey said Wednesday on Browns’ radio partner ESPN Cleveland 850. “I don’t think there’s anything good that comes out of Hard Knocks, but we’ll see.”
An NFL spokesman said the league doesn’t have a timetable yet for announcing the decision.
Asked about rumors that they’re on the docu-series, Dorsey said, “No, I really don’t know.”
And if the NFL forces the Browns to be on?
“You know what? They’ll do that, but it’s OK,” he said. “I’m OK with it. I mean, you know what? It is what it is, but I’m OK with it.”
But his preference would be to pass.
“I can go either way,” he said. “I mean, it’s the way football is, and, you know, I’m OK with it either way.”
That doesn’t sound like a done deal, but it’s possible the Browns are the team the league would compel to be on unless another team steps up to do it, and Dorsey is just holding out hope for that scenario.
He said that he doesn’t want the team to be on Hard Knocks. I was told it’s happening. https://t.co/usZN9A1N3U
— Kyle Kelly (@KyleKellyCLE) May 2, 2018
The Browns are one of six teams who can be forced to do it, along with Washington, Baltimore, Denver, San Francisco, and the L.A. Chargers, and from that bunch it’s not that hard to see why the Browns are the most appealing. In their own way, they have built a brand that interests people, even if the interest is “How are they so bad?”
Couple that with #1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, and it’s certainly worth strong consideration from the league. Our Matt Yoder covered the possibility last week, when the report first surfaced:
First, seeing that #1 draft pick in camp is always going to be a compelling storyline for the HBO show to follow. And given the fact the Browns have seen so many “franchise quarterbacks” come and go and fail under the weighty pressure of trying to turn the franchise around, all eyes are going to be on that #1 pick to see how he grows through camp. Even if Tyrod Taylor is the starter for the entire season (and we all know to take anything Hue Jackson says with a grain of salt with regards to those quarterbacks), it’ll still be a compelling preseason story to follow.
Second, there’s only been one other time in history a team has ever tried to turn around an 0-16 season. How do the Browns players and coaches cope with trying to come back from that embarrassment? How does the franchise to instill a winning culture from scratch? How does the front office move on from Moneyball for Football? How do the new players fit in? How do you dig out of a 1-31 hole if you’re Hue Jackson?
And now, we also have the possibility of Dorsey as a hostile participant. That makes it even better!