There was a time that Cleveland was known by many as the Mistake by the Lake. There was a time that the Cleveland Browns were the laughing stock of the sports world. There was a time that many had no hope for any success in the Browns future. The Hue Jackson effect has changed all of it in terms of how NFL players view the Browns.
After a dreadful 1-15 season where a ton of rookies and other young players dominated the snap counts, you might expect some frustration. Instead, Browns players seem excited about the future. While an impressive offseason that has included the Browns adding to and solidifying their offensive line for the longhaul along with the rookie class they brought in, players are excited for the future, both near and far.
Two newcomers who both signed with Cleveland in free agency, veteran wide receiver Kenny Britt and offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler decided to join the Browns following one of the team’s worst seasons in NFL history. Although they just joined their new team within the last couple months, both Britt and Zeitler seem to love not only the Browns, but the city as well.
How much does the wide receiver love his new team, you ask? When defensive back Jason McCourty signed with the Browns in mid-May, it was revealed that Britt was the biggest recruiter in getting the cornerback to come to Cleveland.
“My pitch to him about Cleveland is everything is great about it. It is amazing. I have never been in a locker room like this.”
Here’s a reminder that during his eight-year career so far, the 28-year-old has been on three different teams. He’s seen and been in his fair share of locker rooms. For him to say that this one is the best says a lot about exactly what the Browns are beginning to build. It all starts with head coach Hue Jackson, and it seems as though the players are buying in.
Zeitler, who was arguably the biggest surprise when he chose to come to the Browns, had plenty of positives things to say, not only about his head coach, but about owner Jimmy Haslam as well. Here’s what he had to say, per clevelandbrowns.com’s Patrick Maks:
“Coming to Cleveland with Hue,” Zeitler said, “everything was just perfect timing. …I’ve been having a blast since I have been here,” Zeitler said. “The Haslams have treated us great, the facility is top notch and we’re working hard right now. It’s a really exciting time out here.”
Say what you want about past Browns teams, but this seems like a new era. There’s a reason these two are saying these things even though they just joined the team within the last couple months. There’s a reason why talents like linebackers Jamie Collins and Christian Kirskey re-signed with the team. There seems to be something special that is beginning to build in Berea. The Browns may somewhat struggle again in 2017, but for the first time in a long time, the Dawg Pound should have faith that things will start turning around sooner rather than later.