CLEVELAND -- Even in the midst of preparing to play Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium, the Cleveland Browns stopped and took notice of another team in town that is having success, Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians.
Earlier this week, the Indians won the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre in Toronto, and qualified to play the Chicago Cubs in the World Series, which gets underway at Progressive Field Tuesday night.
“I’m very excited for their opportunity,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “Coach (Terry) Francona deserves it. He has done a great job with that team, but as I look at it from afar, I want to be in that spot too. The basketball team has done it. The baseball team is doing it.
“They have a great opportunity to get it done. Our football team, we are not there yet, but all those teams were built to where they are now today. We are in our stage. I told you I learned that word. We are in our stage too. We have to get there, but that is the goal -- to win a championship.”
After watching the Cleveland Cavaliers win the NBA Championship for the first time in franchise history, a victory that broke a 52-year major sports championship drought for the city, and now, seeing the Indians qualify for the World Series for the first time since 1997, Jackson has not lacked motivation when addressing the Browns’ long-term goals with players and coaches.
“You have to have aspirations and goals,” Jackson said. “You have to know what you want and what the vision is and where you are trying to go or you are never going to get anywhere. I think you have to talk about those things.
“I’m not ever going to back off that. That is what I’m here for. We are going to get there. I didn’t say it was going to happen this year. I said we have a lot of work to do, and I keep saying that too. I get it. That is what we all are chasing. Obviously, the basketball team has done it. The baseball team has an opportunity to do it. We are going to do it here at some point. I feel very comfortable and confident in that.”
Since being selected by the Browns in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden has been a supporter of all things Cleveland.
Including meeting fans at Indians games and buying a pair of courtside season tickets after LeBron James announced his return to the Cavaliers in the summer of 2014, Haden has adopted Cleveland as his own. And because of that, he is more determined than ever to bring a Browns championship to Cleveland.
“It is so, so bittersweet,” Haden said. “I mean, I love it. I am so happy for the Cavs and so happy for the Indians. At the same time, I am on a professional sports team in the same city where they are doing a lot of successful things, so it just pushes us.
“We want to be successful. We want the city to embrace the Browns. We know that this is a football town, but we want to start getting some W’s so they can show the same love and support that they have been showing for the other teams.”