BEREA, Ohio — Browns fans are learning that one possible play in the team’s playbook calls for moving training camp.
That would mean a big loss for Berea and an economic win for another Northeast Ohio community.
Berea is home to 19,000 people and the second home of the Cleveland Browns. Sold-out crowds have filled Browns training camp this week to get a look at this year’s team.
“My first time to Berea, it was a great turnout this year. The Browns look fantastic,” Andy Kuehn, of Toledo, said.
News off the field is that Browns management may be looking for a change of venue — possibly moving training camp from Berea to either the University of Akron or Kent State.
“I wouldn’t like it at all. It’s too far for me to travel. I mean I travel that far, but I’d love to keep it right where it is,” Robert Hill, of Cleveland, said at Browns camp Thursday.
The move from Berea would be a loss for nearby bars and restaurants. Bob Constanzo, owner of Scoundrels, said he can’t see Berea letting the Browns go.
“It does bring people in. People want to see sports,” Constanzo added.
The Berea Union Depot Taverne is giving 10 percent off meals for training camp attendees. Manager Micki Ezzo has seen an increase in business.
“We were packed for lunch where we wouldn’t get that. I think it would be devastating not just to us as business people, but to the city of Berea,” Ezzo said.
The University of Akron is looking forward to competing to be the next home for Browns training camp.
“InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field is a world-class facility and the campus offers many options for housing, feeding, training — and the space for fans to gather to support the team,” Tom Wistrcill, University of Akron Director of Athletics, said.
Michael Fete, of Canton, was at training camp Thursday and welcomed a move.
“Too tight in here. Every year, can’t get enough people in and there’s tens of thousands of Browns fans that would love to see them on a daily basis,” he said.
Kent State is also anxious to put its bid in for the Browns.
“We have received the proposal, and we will be discussing it with the administration in the near future,” Joel Nielsen, KSU Director of Athletics, said.
But, there is also the possibility that — after review — the Browns will “pass” on the idea of moving.