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Browns to be featured on HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

CLEVELAND — If any team knows hard knocks, it’s the Cleveland Browns.

And so fresh off a historic, dismal 0-16 season under coach Hue Jackson, the team has agreed to appear on HBO’s popular “Hard Knocks” series, it was announced Thursday.

“I’ve been a part of ‘Hard Knocks’ and when you experience it first hand, you come to appreciate the inside look it really gives fans,” said Jackson via statement. “We are excited about what we are building within our organization and feel good about the progress we have made this offseason. Being able to bring our fans in so they can get to know our players and our organization in a different way will be a huge positive for us. I want people to see how much our players and coaches care, how hard they work and how badly they want to win for Cleveland. This will be a great opportunity for our team.”

Cleveland hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2002 and has failed to eclipse five wins in 10 of the past 12 seasons.

But the Browns have renewed optimism following the recent draft. After turning down the chance to be on the behind-the-scenes series several times, the team will allow HBO unlimited access to its upcoming camp.

HBO’s cameras are certain to focus on Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, the brash Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma recently selected first overall. Mayfield is expected to sit behind Tyrod Taylor this season, but their competition could make for the kind of compelling TV that has made the series a must-watch for football junkies.

Browns general manager John Dorsey had expressed reservations about appearing on the series. Dorsey has been busy remolding Cleveland’s roster since arriving in December and is now comfortable the team is in a better position to handle any distractions.

“Like many, I was reluctant about being the featured team on ‘Hard Knocks’ but once we sat down and talked about it as an organization, I feel a lot better and understand why the time is right,” Dorsey said. “Hue and I both feel like this team is in a good place and that we are in the process of building something that will lead to success. Being a part of ‘Hard Knocks’ will give our fans the opportunity to see how passionate the people in our building are about winning and how excited we are about getting to work and preparing for the 2018 season.”

Cleveland is the 13th franchise to participate in “Hard Knocks,” which began in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were featured last summer.

Other teams featured on “Hard Knocks” in previous years have been the Cowboys (2002, 2008), Chiefs (2007), Bengals (2009, 2013), Jets (2010), Dolphins (2012), Falcons (2014), Texans (2015) and Rams (2016).

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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