BEREA, Ohio– The Cleveland Browns will be featured on this season of HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” the team officially announced on Thursday.
The documentary TV show, which started in 2001, follows one NFL team through training camp. The season premieres Aug. 7 at 10 p.m. with the finale on Sept. 4.
A 30-person NFL Films crew is expected to record more than 2,000 hours of football at the team’s headquarters in Berea.
“We have been asked multiple times about being featured on Hard Knocks, and we really felt like it was our turn this year and the timing was right. We want to be great partners in this league, and we also recognize Hard Knocks gives fans a special opportunity to learn more about our team and players,” owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement.
“Organizationally, we are confident about where we are headed, but we have a lot of work to do in order for this franchise to earn the respect of our fans on the field. We understand winning is ultimately most important to our fans. We’re looking forward to partnering with HBO and NFL Films to show how our team is working hard at training camp to prepare for the 2018 season.”
Only six teams were eligible for “Hard Knocks” this summer. Teams are exempt if they have a first-year head coach, have made the playoffs the last two seasons or have appeared on “Hard Knocks” in the past 10 years.
Obviously, the Browns did meet any of those requirements with one win in two seasons and head coach Hue Jackson, who was on “Hard Knocks” with the Bengals, entering his third year. But the plot of Cleveland trying to turn things around was too good for NFL Films and HBO to ignore.
The Browns have two first round draft picks, in the form of Heisman winner Baker Mayfield and Northeast Ohio native Denzel Ward. Add on a few veterans from free agency, like quarterback Tyrod Taylor, wide receiver Jarvis Landry and running back Carlos Hyde, and it’s pretty much a new team.
“Like many, I was reluctant about being the featured team on Hard Knocks but once we sat down and talked about it as an organization, I feel a lot better and understand why the time is right,” said general manager John Dorsey.