Congratulations are due to Jimmy Haslam and the Cleveland Browns. The NFL’s independent investigation into former head coach Hue Jackson’s claims that the team paid him to lose games found “no evidence” to support these claimsproving that the team didn’t lose games on purpose, but rather tried and still went 3-36-1 during a two-plus season run.
The 60-day review was led by former Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White, and while I’m not Adam Schefter, who’s sharing this from my closet studio somewhere, emphatically telling you the NFL couldn’t find any evidence , I’ve always been suspicious that an organization — even one as inept as Cleveland — would have a paper trail of a pay-to-lose incentive.
That’s why I’m always in awe of the Miami-Brian Flores allegations, but maybe I shouldn’t be because the Dolphins were just as irrelevant as the Browns because of their own miserable owner.
The difference between the two cases is the man who raises them. Flores let the Finns compete and win (at least by the standards of the Stephen Ross era); Jackson is in the grambling state Hiring and firing of disgraced coach Art Briles, and possibly admitting to tax fraud while trying to tweet about it. The coach he chose to replace Briles it’s not sparkling clean either.
Jackson retracted his original allegations against Cleveland a few days after making them in February. tell CNN that he was never offered money like Flores, but instead a $750,000 year-end bonus for adhering to the team’s tank-to-rebuild plan. (The investigation also found that there was no four-year tanking plan.) Additionally, after initially saying he would speak to NFL investigators, Jackson ultimately decided not to.
So here we are. All this chatter and back and forth only to find out a bunch of shit we already knew: Hue Jackson isn’t a good football coach, Jimmy HaslaI may be good at hiding incriminating evidence, and the Browns were just the Browns when they lost all those games.
Cleveland is what The Process would look like if Cleveland tried The Process. Giving Patrick Mahomes a concussion and then failing to take the 11 billion chances to steal that AFC Division playoff game was Brown’s version of Kawhi Leonard’s quadruple bounce game.
I agree that Baker Mayfield is not a franchise quarterback. At the same time, I also agree that Deshaun Watson, despite his skill and résumé, is not a franchise quarterback. I’m not sure how many times I have to say it, but a great job traded for a guy being sued by more massage therapists than people can count on your fingers and toes (22 for those of you who forgot).
The Browns traded for Odell Beckham Jr. just to piss him off, and he was on his way to Super Bowl MVP with the Rams before he got injured. The team signed Kareem Hunt, who the Chiefs cut after video surfaced of him falling and kicking a woman at a CLEVELAND hotel.
Yes, Myles Garrett is amazing. He also took off an opposing QB’s helmet and then hit him with it.
It’s unfair to tear the Browns up because they haven’t been incompetent “Urban Meyer in Jacksonville” in two or three years. Are you willing to overlook disgusting behavior — alleged or recorded — toward women? Yes. But objectively terrible in football? no
I like Nick Chubb and Coach Kevin Stefanski and I love Cleveland fans. I think third-round draft pick David Bell might be one of those receivers that Cris Collinsworth raves about retrospectively.
“I know he didn’t have a great combine, Al, but look at his tape at Purdue and tell me he’s not an NFL receiver. The guy has 232 receptions as of 2019. I know I’m not surprised.”
I’m less confident about Amari Cooper as an option. He’s my pick to be this year’s version of Julio Jones or AJ Green, aka the receiver who’s a #1 receiver just by name recognition. Eventually he’ll be on the waiver wire, and you’ll think he’s a good pickup until you look at his play history.
If you’re wondering why I don’t throw insults and shoot at Jackson more, it’s because he doesn’t do a lap of honor and preach about integrity while trading or signing players who don’t have one. And the Dawg Pound isn’t stuck with Jackson the way they’re stuck with an owner who never sees an accusation stick. (In case you aren’t aware $50 million fraud scheme by the Flying J gas station chain and its employeesNeither has Haslam. But you are not the CEO of the company.)
The team’s statement could have contained a little humility. “We understand the confusion. If another team was losing games at a seemingly impossible rate, it would be fair to ask if it was on purpose. We were not. We’re just the Browns, and it was like always.”
Cleveland wasn’t avoiding public embarrassment, it was avoiding further public embarrassment. There were no winners from the NFL investigation because all parties responsible for this historically bad part of Browns football are fucking losers.