CLEVELAND - The voice of the Cleveland Browns since 1999, WKYC's Jim Donovan has nearly seen it all.
But after the team fell to 0-8 on the season following its Sunday loss to the Minnesota Vikings in London, even Donovan admitted to being caught off-guard by the Browns' ongoing on-field struggles, which follow a 1-15 record in the 2016 season.
Speaking to Crain's Cleveland Business' Kevin Kleps, the Donovan Live host detailed what it's been like to witness the franchise's run to a 1-23 record over the last two seasons up close and the effect the sustained losing has had on the fanbase.
"Last year, I think everyone was prepared for it," Donovan said. "Last year, they went in and said we're going to take it down to the studs, it will be a total rebuild and it will take some time. They knew it was going to be rough. But it's one thing to say it was going to be rough and another to live through it.
"It was unbelievable when you're there every week and once Christmas Eve comes and there's a chance you're not going to win any games. Even though you prepared for it, you're not prepared to see the losses every week. But I think everybody said, 'OK, we don't want to see that again,' and they came into this season thinking they were going to be better, but the product hasn't been there and the improvement hasn't been there."
Donovan also went on to describe the Browns' second straight 0-8 start to a season as a "punch in the nose" to Cleveland fans.
"The only way to define it is winning games," Donovan said. "In the preseason, they won all four games, and you start to think maybe this is starting to head in the right direction, but the fact they have played seven games (prior to the 33-16 loss to the Vikings) and they haven't won is really a punch in the nose to the fans."
You can read the rest of Donovan's comments on the Browns' struggles at Cleveland Crain's Business.
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