BEREA, Ohio -- Preparations for the 2017 season officially got underway Thursday, as the Cleveland Browns began training camp at their headquarters in Berea.
For players and coaches in the National Football League, the opening of training camp is very much like the first day of school.
The Browns may be coming off of a franchise-worst 1-15 record during the 2016 season, but as the team gets ready to start its second training camp under coach Hue Jackson, excitement is in the air.
“No matter how many times you go through it, there’s always that little pit in your stomach when you’re going into it with not knowing what the team is like, not knowing what practice is going to be like,” 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas said.
“How is the team going to be? How am I going to be? All those first-day-of-school type things go through your head just like you are going into fifth grade for the first time.”
Despite all of his individual successes, Thomas still has that anxious readiness for the work to begin.
“For me, it’s exciting,” Thomas said. “It’s seeing the new guys. We’ve obviously got some outstanding draft picks that people have high expectations for, so for me, there’s the excitement of seeing if these guys can live up the bill and watching how everybody jells in training camp and all the fun things that go on -- the hard times that you persevere together with your brothers -- and it’s a fun and exciting time to be a Cleveland Brown, I think.”
That excitement level has not been limited to the players, as Jackson is very much looking forward to mentoring the team and leading them to more success than it had in 2016.
“We are looking to improve as a football team, compete, come in and do whatever we think it takes to get this organization where it needs to be,” Jackson said. “I am very excited about the roster and where we are, but we all still know there is work to be done that way.
“I know we will continue to push that way, but I think our players coming off of OTAs and the way they competed were looking forward to the summer. We have had a great summer thus far, and I think our guys are glad to be back and glad to start this opportunity again.”
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