HUE gotta believe
A Q&A with Browns coach Hue Jackson
By Heather Tunstall
Cleveland is a football town, and every year as autumn approaches, the city gets psyched up for the start of Browns season. This year, Cleveland is still high from the Cavs and Monsters championships and a first place Indians team. The sports fandom is legendary here, and the crowds are out in full force.
While you're in town, we fully expect you to partake in football revelry, whether you go to the game or party it up while tailgating. We talked with Browns head coach Hue Jackson about coming to Cleveland and what football fans can expect from the team this year. Here's what he had to say.
Q: What were you most looking forward to when you accepted the position as the Browns head coach?
A: Really just looking forward to working hard to unify a group of young men that love the game of football. This is a franchise with a rich history and an extremely passionate fan base. The team is very important to this community and I’m honored and excited about the opportunity Dee and Jimmy Haslam have granted to me to help build a winner for this city.
Q: You’re already one with the Cleveland fan base, having attended Cavs and Indians games--what does it mean to you to be a part of this city’s sports community?
A: It’s great to be part of this city’s sports community. You hear so much about how passionate these fans are but you really don’t understand it until you witness it firsthand. My family and I have been so warmly welcomed and received since I was named head coach, it’s really been an incredible experience. Being at The Q for Game 6 [of the NBA Finals] with my wife, Michelle, was such a tremendous experience. The building was electric and that does so much to uplift your team. I can’t wait to feel the passion of our fans in FirstEnergy Stadium. It’s going to be such an advantage for our team.
Q: With one of the largest organized fan clubs in all of professional sports locally, nationally and even internationally, Browns fans are excited about the upcoming season. What can they expect to see different from years past?
A: We want them to expect a hard working team that is going to play an exciting, passionate brand of football. Our team is going to be all about winning. Every decision we make and everything we do will be done with the goal of winning. We are going to be a young football team. Our draft picks are going to have the opportunity to have an impact early. It’s really on us a coaching staff to find the best ways to utilize their talents and develop their skills.
Q: What is Jim Brown’s involvement with the organization?
A: Jim is a great asset to the organization and our football team. He has such a wealth of knowledge and can really impress upon our players what this team means to the city of Cleveland and really what it takes to have great success in this league. Jim is obviously an icon. I still remember the first phone call I got from him after I became head coach. I couldn’t believe I was talking to “The Jim Brown.” Jim will be around our organization and our players as much as possible because he makes us better.
Q: What did you know about Cleveland as a city before coming here? Have there been any surprises so far? What do you think about Cleveland now that you’ve been here for a few months?
A: The people of Cleveland have been great. They love their sports and they love their Browns. You hear so much about how great of a sports town Cleveland is but you don’t fully understand it until you are part of it. I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I looking forward to seeing our fans in FirstEnergy Stadium during the regular season.
Q: What do you like to do around town during your downtime?
A: I really haven’t had much downtime to be honest with you. I’ve enjoyed going to some basketball games during the Cavs season but other than that, it’s really been all about Browns football for me. That’s the way it has to be in year one. We all realize we have a lot of work to do to become the type of team our fans can be proud of and everyone in our building is working towards that goal so there really isn’t much downtime.