To Cleveland Browns fans, they are living legends. But some former players feel they are being disrespected by the front office.
They say it started when the expansion team came back to town. The relationship between the team and its alumni has deteriorated ever since.
Now, these legendary players say they don't even feel welcome in the stadium anymore.
Dick Ambrose, Reggie Rucker, Don Cockroft and Greg Pruitt are household names to longtime Browns fans. These former players say that fans would be upset to know how the greats are being handled by the team. Starting with the ticket policy.
"We were always welcome to come to games as a guest of the Browns. And all of a sudden, when Banner came in, there was a rationing policy developed," Ambrose said.
He and others were also upset at the dismantling of the Legends Club at the stadium, a place where the alumni and fans could meet and mingle during games.
"It got to the point we really felt that if a message was being sent, we were getting the message loud and clear that we're not welcome as we once were," said Ambrose.
Cockroft, who wrote a book about the Kardiac Kids, says they are neglecting history.
"The Cleveland Browns have one of the greatest traditions in the history of the NFL and it's kind of like it's ignored," he said.
Rucker says he'll have nothing to do with the team anymore.
"They're outsiders and I told them: lose my number," said Rucker.
"I think one of the mistakes, that I had to put my hands on, is that sometimes they hire people who are not from here and don't understand the culture, don't understand the history, tradition of the Browns and it's more about the dollar," Pruitt explained.
The Browns released the following statement:
"Creating an environment for our alumni to feel welcomed and connected is of the utmost importance to our organization. We fully respect and embrace what our alumni mean to our team, this community and to our fans. The Cleveland Browns take great pride in building a healthy and positive relationship with all of our alumni and current players. Under the Haslam ownership, an alumni advisory panel was formed, engaging former players to improve communication between the organization and the alumni. Over the past two months, we’ve had very productive meetings that we feel will help us build an even stronger relationship."
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