BEREA, Ohio (WJW) — The Cleveland Browns were back in action Tuesday, opening up their practice to fans for the first time ahead of the 2023-2024 season.
It’s the time of year when fans — along with coaches and players — are still highly optimistic about the games ahead. Is the team going to bulldoze its way to the Super Bowl? Still unclear, however, coaches speaking to the media made clear they’re pushing forward with a winning attitude, building off last year’s disappointing 7-10 finish.
Special teams coordinator/assistant head coach Bubba Ventrone told reporters the Berea facility looked entirely different than when he was a player with the Browns and that he’s pleased to be bringing fans back.
“When I was driving in this morning, for a second, I thought I was late,” Ventrone said prior to the 2 p.m. practice game. “Why are these cars lined up? Are we practicing in the morning and I missed an email? People were outside tailgating at 6 a.m. I’m exited to see how rowdy they get at practice today for sure.”
Head coach Kevin Stefanski also spoke ahead of the practice game, explaining that most of the starters would be getting reps Tuesday, but he’s letting others get game time, including third-string quarterback Kellen Mond, come Thursday.
The Browns’ first NFL preseason game is, of course, this Thursday against the New York Jets as part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement week. The Jets’ Aaron Rodgers is also sitting out come Thursday.
When asked about starting quarterback Deshaun Watson, he had this to say: “Deshaun has done a nice job, has come back really in the training camp certainly ready to go. Spent a lot of time over his break with our players getting his mind ready for this opportunity so he’s done a great job.”
Tuesday’s practice featured fans of all ages showing off their best orange and brown gear while shouting “Here we go Brownies!” as loud as possible. Following the practice, kids 12 and under were allowed to lineup for player autographs.
The team’s first game that counts is against Ohio rivals the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10 at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Find the full schedule right here.
For those still interested in attending free practices open to the public at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus, the team says they’re sold out, but do check online for availability. There are seven more open practices to go.