The Cleveland Browns have passed up on an opportunity to be featured on NFL Films' "Hard Knocks" before the 2015 NFL season kicks off.
The Cleveland Browns are not appearing on "Hard Knocks" this year.
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According to a March 24 update from ESPN's Pat McManamon, the Browns informed NFL Films of their decision this week. McManamon says part of the reason why Cleveland is holding off is because "the reality series filmed during training camp would bring increased scrutiny and attention to Johnny Manziel."
The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci tweeted the news about the Browns being front-runners for the show on March 23:
Browns head coach Mike Pettine, who appeared on "Hard Knocks" as a New York Jets assistant in 2010, explained the team's decision to McManamon on Tuesday:
"You just weigh everything in. Because being a part of 'Hard Knocks,' having been there, knowing they're going to look to cover the team's biggest current storylines, it's obvious that he (Manziel) would be a point of attention.
"When we decided not to volutneer for 'Hard Knocks,' we discussed everything that was involved with it. [Manziel] is certainly something we needed to consider."
Manziel entered a rehab facility on Jan. 28 and has been there ever since. Pettine told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler he expects Manziel to be present for the start of offseason workouts on April 20, although he cannot give an exact timetable for his return.
The Northeast Ohio Media Group's Mary Cay Cabot stresses the Browns appearing on "Hard Knocks" would put undue pressure on Manziel, which is not ideal for someone who is fresh out of rehab. Cabot points out a relapse could even occur within the first 60 days after a patient's release.
Cabot argues monitoring Manziel's every move during this sensitive time is "incredibly irresponsible" on the part of NFL Films just so it could boost its ratings. Both the Browns and Manziel's camp have asked people to respect his privacy.
Another thing to consider is the relative early tenure of both Pettine and Browns general manager Ray Farmer. This is just their second year working together, so documenting whatever growing pains they're going through is not ideal, per Cabot.
In line with this, Cabot says Cleveland also has rookie offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and rookie quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell, who may both find it hard to implement their respective systems with cameras always whirring in their direction.
Aside from Manziel, the Browns are also trying to cope with the performance of second-year cornerback Justin Gilbert, the eighth overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft. Gilbert cited personal issues which affected his play on the field last season. Cabot says the Browns hope he can rebound and have a better season in 2015. "Hard Knocks" figures to get in the way of his development.
Cabot also argues the Browns could receive unnecessary negative publicity on "Hard Knocks" if suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon gets in trouble again. The league suspended him "for at least the 2015 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy," per The Northeast Ohio Media Group update.
McManamon stresses the Browns "still could be forced to do the series." However, NFL Films would rather feature a team which volunteers for it.
The Browns finished with a 7-9 win-loss record last season and missed the playoffs for the 12th consecutive year, per Pro-Football-Reference.com.
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