When the Cleveland Browns parted ways with Alec Scheiner this past offseason, I thought the proposal to move training camp to Columbus would die off. There was also the news and then the backpedaling of Columbus officials seeking $5 million in taxpayer money to help fund a multi-purpose facility that would include Browns training camp in the future.
On Thursday, the team sprung the following update on fans out of the blue regarding the future site of Browns training camp:
"As we have consistently conveyed, based on our football operation’s desires for training camp, we are considering various locations. Representatives have approached us about looking into different options, and currently, we are exploring an opportunity in Columbus, which would include a financial contribution from the team towards a community-based recreational facility.
Throughout these discussions, we are focused on three core areas:
1. Creating the ideal environment for our players and coaches to prepare for the NFL season,
2. Ensuring that we can invest in and help create positive opportunities for youth in that community during the 11 months a year when the Browns are not practicing at the proposed location and
3. Creating special experiences for all Browns fans to interact with our team, including by continuing to host open sessions at our facility in Berea for fans in Northeast Ohio, above and beyond available training camp days.
We will continue to diligently evaluate all options and will place great weight on each of these priorities while remaining committed to our year-round facility in Berea.”
That third bullet point — about keeping a few sessions in Berea -- has been hinted at in the past, and is something that I think is very important to maintain (although maybe it’s just for my own selfish reasons of being able to reasonably commute there).
Peter John-Baptiste, the team’s VP of Communications, elaborated a little to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer on how the setting of camp would be coordinated:
If all goes as planned, the Browns will hold about three weeks of camp in Columbus and about a week in Berea so Northeast Ohio fans can continue to attend, Browns spokesman Peter John-Baptiste told cleveland.com. The Browns will also open other practices to fans, such as a day of rookie minicamp, possibly at FirstEnergy Stadium again.
It is also noted that “the Browns and Franklin County each would contribute $5 million, and the city would cover the rest of the cost of the new recreation center.” The total cost is estimated at $15 million to $17 million.
In the past, I’ve been heavily against having camp moved entirely away from Berea. I find myself not minding a split of sorts, even if there are just a couple of sessions in Berea. What do you think, Browns fans?