‘Excited but realistic’: Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam talk about 2020 football season

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — With a month to go before the Cleveland Browns kick off the 2020 football season, owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam held their annual state of the Browns news conference. 

Among the topics of discussion, the fans and will they be able to see a game in person at FirstEnergy Stadium this fall.

“We have put a lot of time, effort and resources into ensuring that if we did have ‘20 percent fans’ it could be a safe experience. We feel good about that opportunity. Obviously, the final decision is up to the governor, but we are ready and excited to go, and I think the City of Cleveland feels the same way,” said Jimmy Haslam. 

Earlier this year, the NFL took a lot of heat for not listening to NFL players and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest in regards to social injustices. 

Quarterback Baker Mayfield has stated publicly that he plans to take a knee this season during the national anthem as a way to peacefully protest. The Browns owners are supporting that choice. 

“I think all too much attention is called to whether somebody kneels or stands or what their statement is and not nearly enough attention is called to what they do afterward. Dee and I can issue some great statement, but what you all really ought to look at is what ourselves, our coaches and our players are doing the rest of the week, if you will, to make this country a better place to live, work and raise a family,” said Jimmy.  

The Browns are coming off a disappointing 2019 season in which expectations were at an all-time high. After the season, the team dismissed head coach Freddie Kitchens and parted ways with General Manager John Dorsey.  Now, first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski and first-time General Manager Andrew Berry are trying to lead the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.   

“Baltimore and Pittsburgh are arguably two of the best teams and best franchises. I think you have to be realistic there. We are still a young team. On the other hand, we feel really good about Andrew and Kevin, our coaching staff, our personnel group and the talent that we have been able to assemble. We are excited going into the year but realistic,” said Jimmy. 

The Browns open up the season at Baltimore on September 13.  

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