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Browns reportedly making plans to leave Downtown for a stadium outside of Cleveland city limits

See the mock-up of where a future stadium for the Cleveland Browns might be located.

NFL Draft Experience Media Preview Photo by Duane Prokop/Getty Images

Are we looking at the Brook Park Browns in the future?

According to NEOtrans, a blog that covers new developments in Northeast Ohio, the Cleveland Browns ownership group is reportedly looking to purchase 176 acres of land in Brook Park, Ohio. Considering the team has already been buying more land in Berea, Ohio to expand their practice and training camp facilities, the land in nearby Brook Park would not make sense for a new headquarters. It would, however, fall in line with a potential future stadium site.

The potential spot for a new stadium in Brook Park, Ohio, in proximity to the airport and transit system.

The land is the home of two former Ford motor plants. It’s worth noting that NEOtrans’ sources did not indicate that the land would be used for a stadium site, but they are connecting the dots on the fact that it’s a large piece of land that fits all the criteria for a new stadium:

It remains to be seen what is the purpose of the reported Brook Park purchase agreement. It may be a genuine attempt by the Haslam Sports Group to build a football stadium in Cleveland’s suburbs. It could also be an insurance policy by the Haslams in case talks with city of Cleveland officials fail to produce a deal very soon for the renovation of the city-owned Cleveland Browns Stadium on downtown’s lakefront. The Browns’ lease at the stadium expires after the 2028 football season.

The site would be right next to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the Brook Park RTA Rapid Station.

The Browns were quick to respond to the rumors, with the following statement by team spokesman Peter John-Baptiste:

The statement does not deny the rumor. It acknowledges that they appreciate the City of Cleveland exploring the landbridge and current stadium renovation, but that they are also “exploring other potential stadium options in Northeast Ohio at various additional sites.” The Brook Park, Ohio land could be a contingency plan for the Haslams, or it could be a little bit of a tactic to put more pressure on the City of Cleveland to get funding before they lose the Browns again (albeit, a much different circumstance) with a move away from Downtown Cleveland.

It’s also not unprecedented for a Browns owner to buy a big plot of land, but not use it. As DBN’s Barry Shuck pointed out last year, back in the 1980s, Art Modell “bought an abundance of land in Strongsville, Ohio with the idea that a new stadium might be built there, but eventually sold all that land as residential property.”