How often do you hear the words "Browns" and "Wisdom" in the same sentence? Well, never, but that is not the point. This weekend the Browns' wisdom is on display, while the Rams clearly are not. The 2 stars of the afterglow of the 2014 NFL draft are Michale Sams and our own Johnny Football, now Johnny Cleveland, and hopefully soon Johnny Super Bowl. First let's compare and contrast the 2 approaches.
The Browns were roundly criticized for barring the national media from their rookie minicamp. When you tell the national media to take a hike, they will respond as the whiny, entitled, little weasels that many of them are - they will throw a snit. They want to see JFF and they won't. Cry me a river.
The Rams have the first openly gay player on display. Not only is the national media there, but Sams has brought a crew from the queen of television, Oprah and the OWN. They are chronicling his every move in a "Soft Knocks" kind of a take. Now in fairness to the Rams, Johnny's issue is an overwhelming celebrity, while Sams' is more of a social issue. So they would have surely been more criticized, getting flack from the NFL media and a dose from the non football national media, led by Gay and Lesbian political groups. But they let it go out of control, they should have insisted that Sams leave the OWN network behind.
Now is this divergent handling a huge deal? No. But there is more here than meets the eye.
First, the Browns get more focus on the football. Pettine will get a better evaluation of his troops than Fisher.
Second, the rookies will learn more. This Pettine is one serious, all business guy, and this message will come across loud and clear.
But there is a much more important part of this. The Browns are supporting Johnny, they actively involved in making him a better teammate. They are helping become a team leader, they are actively depreciating his celebrity so he will better perceived. Check out the comments, Haslam saying he is the backup, JFF saying he is the low man on the totem pole. And how do you think Sams' teammates are privately reacting? They can't say it and they won't say it, but they want guys who will jump in the"foxhole" with them, not fall in line with the folks that promote a social agenda.
So what do we conclude about this weekends' dealings? What can we read into the Little release? There is a clear statement from Berea these days. Play like a Brown is more than a saying. There is a serious expectation of focused, passionate, football players. Farmer is not distracted by suspensions, he is focused on the players he has, and making sure they are the type of players he wants. As for Pettine, when you enter the Browns' practice facility, you must pass a sign that says "Play Like a Brown". But this Pettine is one focused dude, and there is an unwritten sigh that says "Caution - Blunt Force Trauma Ahead."