Why Cleveland is the right city for 'Hard Knocks'

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland Browns will make their "Hard Knocks" debut on Tuesday, Aug. 7.

The storied series follows NFL teams behind the scenes as players battle through training camp.

A total of 91 players will compete for a spot on the Browns 53-man roster.

The decision makers couldn't wait to get the hour-long episodes to Cleveland.

"The Browns were always our number one choice to be on Hard Knocks," said NFL Films Senior Producer Ken Rodgers.

Rodgers had nothing but good things to say about the organization and looks forward to production.

"I think there is something that has always been attractive to the blue-collar work ethic of Cleveland matching its football team," said Rodgers. "Some teams are more glamorous, some teams want to overpower you and be tough, there always seems to be this outside perception that this is about hard work here in Cleveland both on and off of the field. I know that is something we will see when we are here in August. I think that is why the Browns are so well-liked across the board and so paid attention to because it speaks to something about that Midwest work ethic."

Cleveland has gained national attention, ever since the NFL Draft, but Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President of HBO Sports saw the potential even before then.

"It's a story with national appeal, for good reason," said Nelson. "This in many ways is an American franchise and is an American team. It is an underdog story. People love rooting for underdogs."

Browns General Manager John Dorsey was reluctant initially about the HBO show.

The staff hesitated initially, in fear of it becoming a distraction.

But Dorsey's reluctance soon disappeared, after talking with Head Coach Hue Jackson.

Coach Hue Jackson was coaching in Cincinnati when the Bengals made an appearance in 2009, he's seen the effect that the cameras can have on an organization both good and bad.

That 2009 Bengals team had a number of eccentric characters between Chad Johnson and James Harrison.

The same way the Browns have high-profile players like Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon.

The players are pretty excited about their chance to be in the spotlight. Jarvis Landry joked with media, following practice Wednesday afternoon.

"I am excited. Aren't you?" exclaimed Landry. "Obviously, we have a goal in mind and we have to focus, but it is also an opportunity to show the culture and the type of football and the style of football that we want to be portrayed in Cleveland."

Coach Hue Jackson plans on addressing the team prior to the camera flashes in the coming weeks to let them know that the main focus is still football.

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