It's a Hard Knock Life. Nobody knows that better than a Browns fan. And come August, the Browns may actually experience some more hard knocks, firsthand. They're the front-runner to become the latest NFL team to star in HBO's annual training camp series “Hard Knocks”, and at first glance, it seems like a great idea. Mike Pettine? He's made for TV. Fans around the globe will fall in love with the Browns head coach. And the ongoing subplots, including Johnny Football? Too good to be true, as far as the HBO execs are concerned.
But that's precisely why the Browns likely wish they could politely decline. The last thing Johnny Manziel needs, after a rookie season of turmoil (on and off the field), and an offseason of rehab, are more cameras in his face, especially behind-the-scenes, as he tries to handle his second NFL playbook in as many years, not to mention the pressure that continues to mount.
Then there's the owner, Jimmy Haslam, who's certainly had enough airing of his dirty laundry, and the GM, Ray Farmer, who still hasn't heard from the NFL on possible penalties for texting.
In the end, it may not be up to the Browns. The NFL can force ‘em to participate, if no other team volunteers, and the Browns are clearly, annually, one intriguing franchise. But the NFL should cut ‘em a break on this one. The Browns have been a circus for years. We know that, and the current regime knows that, as they inherited, and in some cases, perpetuated the dysfunction. The last thing they need to do is show that off to the rest of the football world.