CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns are on a business trip, and there is no time for anything else, not especially while on an eight-game losing streak.
Although there are plenty of sights to see in the city of London, the Browns are concerned about one thing and one thing only, getting their first win of the season when they take on the Minnesota Vikings at Twickenham Stadium Sunday as part of the 2017 NFL International Series.
“I just want to win a game,” rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer said. “I have seen enough. I can get out there and check out London any other time. For me right now, it is about making sure I do whatever it takes to be prepared to win a game.”
The Browns have never played a regular-season game abroad, but have done so three times in the preseason.
The Browns first travelled out of the country during the 1988 season when they took on the New York Jets in Montreal, and then, faced off against the Philadelphia Eagles in front of 73,677 fans in London in the 1989 preseason.
The Browns last played internationally during the 1993 preseason, when they travelled to Toronto to play the New England Patriots.
“A lot of it is just throwing you out of your routine,” offensive lineman JC Tretter said. “Football players in general are very routine-oriented and just sticking with what we do, so we try to set this travel schedule up to try to keep us as much in our routine as possible.”
Linebacker Christian Kirksey added, “That travel, I have never had it before, but I am sure it is going to be physically and mentally tolling on us as a team. It is on us to make sure that we understand the different things that we can do to combat that from nutrition, to the way that we sleep to the things that we are doing, eliminating blue lights and just small things like that are all going to come into play when we get out there.”
Including the 0-7 start to the 2017 season, the Browns are 1-22 since Sashi Brown took over as executive vice president of football operations on January 3, 2016 and Jackson was hired eight days later.
Over the last three years, the Browns have gone 4-35, and the record has not been much better since Dee and Jimmy Haslam officially purchased the team in October of 2012.
In five seasons under Haslam’s majority ownership, the Browns have posted an NFL-worst 15-56 record. Factoring in the remaining games of the 2012 season after the sale was approved at an NFL Owners Meeting in Chicago, Haslam’s Browns have gone 19-61.
“At the end of the day, we are paid to go and play anywhere,” Kirksey said. “Whether it is in a different country, whether it is on the west coast, east coast, wherever we are scheduled to play, that is where we are going to play. I look at it as an extended away game.
“I just look at it as a long away trip. I don’t think it is the distraction for us. We are just ready to go out there and go against the Vikings. It is just another game. It is just in a different destination.”