“I was impressed. I didn’t know what to expect, to honest. It was a little bit more than I expected. It’s a nice facility,” said the first-time visitor, who anticipated seeing a practice field and a space for weight-lifting and conditioning. “This is pretty big.”
Hanna, of Columbus, said he was excited to get up close and personal with some of the players at training camp.
Besides watching practice from the sidelines and enjoying treats from food vendors, fans have many other opportunities during the Browns’ training camp. Children can be timed running the 40-yard dash or run through an obstacle course that tests their agility and catching abilities. They also can kick short field goals or go through an inflatable slide, decorated in brown and orange.
Photo opportunities are plenty.
Fans can have their picture taken with life-sized bobbleheads of Browns greats through the years: Lou Groza, Otto Graham, Bernie Kosar and Joe Thomas. Or they can measure themselves against current players: Defensive end Myles Garrett (6-feet-4), quarterback Tyrod Taylor (6-1) or running back Duke Johnson Jr. (5-9).
“They are giving away some freebies. That’s always fun,” Hanna said.
Kevin Besser, of Talmadge, returned to training camp for the first time since he came with his father when he was 8 years old.
“I was in love,” he said, looking back at the childhood experience. “I just got my first year of season tickets. I look forward to some exciting football.”
Besser said he looked forward to seeing some exciting plays at training camp, especially since the team was in pads for the first time.
“I’m enjoying the contact; that’s really what I’m enjoying. Football is not football without the contact,” he added.
One of the many off-season discussions has been Taylor being named the No. 1 QB over Baker Mayfield. The Browns selected Mayfield, a Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Oklahoma, with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
“I think that’s going to bring a lot of attention to our offense,” Besser said. “With these threats, we can actually get wide receivers open because they’re going to have to double somebody. I feel like that’s a lot of good, positive momentum for the Cleveland Browns.”
He has no problems with Mayfield being the second-string QB.
“I think in this league that you need to sit down and learn a little bit,” Besser said. “(Mayfield) has great skill and he plays with a passion, but at the same time it’s more about being smart in the NFL. He needs to sit there behind Tyrod Taylor, who has a great arm and great brains.”
Hanna said he’s most excited about “all the players that have come on board this year.”
“I’m super excited to see some of the talent that has been coming in. I think it’s going to be a fun year,” he said.
Besser predicts Cleveland will have at least five wins. Under coach Hue Jackson, the Browns are 1-31 and are coming off an 0-16 season.
“At this point we can’t do any worse than we did last year,” Besser said. “We have to hope for a couple wins here. They are going to keep a tight leash on (Jackson) and that’s why he has strayed away from focusing on the offense and (now) is focusing on the team this year.”
Admittedly excited for the upcoming season, Hanna hopes Taylor can hold onto the starting QB job in Cleveland. Taylor started his NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens and played the last three seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
“You gotta be excited about Tyrod Taylor,” Hanna said. “He brings excitement; he brings playoff experience. He’s got that veteran role he brings to the table. We’ve got a couple really exciting receivers and we’ve got some talent we can get the ball to.”