BEREA, Ohio -- Before the 2017 season, coach Hue Jackson guaranteed the Cleveland Browns would not again finish with a 1-15 record, as they did in 2016, and promised to jump into Lake Erie should the unthinkable happen.
With one game left in the 2017 season and the Browns sitting at 0-15, the best case scenario would be a one-win year, and regardless of the outcome of Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, Jackson confirmed he will make good on his promise.
“Heck yeah, I've got to,” Jackson said during his post-practice press conference Wednesday.
Considering the sub-freezing conditions predicted in Cleveland for the next 12 days, Jackson said he is “going to do it at my convenience.”
“I don't like to do it for the reason I'm having to do it, but I have to make due on my word, and I just think that's what you do,” Jackson said. “I do get that. I made a statement. I've got to back it up. That's the type of person I am, so that's what we have to do.”
The Browns suffered a 20-3 loss to the Chicago Bears (5-10) at Soldier Field last Sunday, which dropped them to 0-15 on the season, and they are one setback away from joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams in the history of the National Football League to finish a regular season at 0-16.
The Browns' 16th straight loss dropped the organization to a league-worst 1-30 since the opening game of 2016, and by owning up to his promise, Jackson believes he is sending an important message of leadership to his players.
“I don't know that anybody in the National Football League can do this job right now,” Jackson said. “Being in this situation, it's hard, and everything comes at you. Whether you're putting out fires, helping guys through things or keeping the football team together, you better have some strength to do that, and I've been blessed to have the opportunity to do this.
“I don't want to continue to do this, this way. This is as hard as it gets, but at the same time, I'm not running from this. I started into this. I'm part of the reason why it is like what it is. I'd like to be part of the reason why it gets fixed sooner rather than later, and I think we'll do that.”
Jackson will make an event of his jumping into Lake Erie in order to benefit the Hue Jackson Foundation, which was created to combat human trafficking in Cleveland.
“The issue that we're dealing with is rampant,” Jackson said. “It's something that I'm trying to do everything I can to put a dent in. The human trafficking issue is near and dear to me. It's something I want to really make a huge, huge impact on, and we'll continue to do so. There will be more things that we do through the community, out in the community and with the foundation itself in the near future.”