BY TOM WITHERS
CLEVELAND (AP) — If any team knows hard knocks, it’s the Cleveland Browns.
And so fresh off a historic, dismal 0-16 season, the team has agreed to appear on HBO’s popular “Hard Knocks” series, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press.
The Browns have renewed optimism following the recent draft. After turning down the chance to be on the behind-the-scenes series several times, the team will allow HBO unlimited access to its upcoming camp.
An official announcement will be made later Thursday, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hasn’t revealed its decision.
Cleveland is the 13th franchise to participate in “Hard Knocks,” which began in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were featured last summer.
HBO’s cameras are certain to focus on Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, the brash Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma recently selected first overall. Mayfield is expected to sit behind Tyrod Taylor this season, but their competition could make for the kind of compelling TV that has made the series a must-watch for football junkies.
Browns general manager John Dorsey had expressed reservations about appearing on the series. Dorsey has been busy remolding Cleveland’s roster since arriving in December and is now comfortable the team is in a better position to handle any distractions.
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