CLEVELAND -- There has been a whole lot of winning in Cleveland in 2016, and the Browns are anxious to be a part of it.
Since taking the job as head coach of the Browns back in January, Hue Jackson has seen local UFC fighter Stipe Miocic win the heavyweight championship of the world, the Cavaliers come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors and win their first-ever NBA title. And now, the Indians, champions of the American League Central Division, are in the midst of a postseason run of their own.
After watching so much sports success in a city that had a 52-year major championship drought prior to this summer, Jackson and the Browns are anxious to be part of that jubilation.
“It is exciting,” Jackson said. “Someday, we hope to give our fans something to scream about, too. It was awesome watching the Cavs do what they did. It is exciting watching the Indians doing what they are doing right now.
“I wish (Terry) Francona nothing but the best. He knows that. I have gotten to meet him personally and think the world of him. I’m pulling for him all the way. Hopefully, they will be pulling for us at some point in time, too. That is what this is truly all about.”
Although Jackson grew up on the other side of the country, the California native has taken on the mentality of Cleveland sports fans, and wants desperately to give them something to cheer about on Sundays in the fall.
“When you work for an organization and you are one of the leaders, you have to entrench yourself in everything,” Jackson said. “I have tried to do that. That is really important. I don’t want people to think I’m here just for a cup of coffee. I plan on being here a long time. Contrary to what everybody thinks, I will be here a long time.
“It is the starting point. The starting point is really important so people know and understand that I am here. I am interested in more than just what we do. I’m interested in what everybody does. I have a real appreciation for our fans and for the city and what we are trying to accomplish here. I know right now it looks like we are a little ways off, but I promise you, like I said before, we are going to get there. I truly believe that.”
While Jackson “absolutely” embraced the Cleveland mentality, he stopped short of the “everybody is against us” line of thinking. In fact, Jackson has taken on the opposite approach by building from within a culture of success through hard work.
“What matters is what is in that locker room over there and how we play and how we think,” Jackson said. “I’m realistic. I believe in reality. It is really about going and playing. We get three hours to decide how this thing is going to unfold, and we have a say in it.
“I want our players to understand that is how you win in the National Football League. It is not because you get amped up or any of those things for one game or another. You play well week in and week out, you become consistent and you play as well as you can play and things take care of themselves.”