The Cleveland Browns turned down an offer to appear on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” documentary, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The annual show follows one NFL team as it finalizes its roster leading up to the season. Coach Mike Pettine did not specifically point to the hoopla surrounding first-round draft pick Johnny Manziel as the reason for declining the offer, but instead pointed to his own inexperience. He is a first-year head coach with the Browns, which allows him, and thus his team, an exemption from participating.
“Let’s get through the first time, let’s get through the first year,” Pettine told the Plain Dealer, adding that he would not rule out future possibilities of joining the program.
“There are positives and negatives to doing it,” said Pettine, who had been subject to HBO’s “Hard Knocks” cameras while he was the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets. “It’s not something I would say we’d never do, partly because the league can make us do it,” he told the Cleveland paper.
The NFL passed a rule last year compelling teams to participate in the HBO series unless they can meet one of three exemptions: having a first-year coach, a playoff appearance in the past two years or a previous “Hard Knocks” stint in the past decade.
As to which team will get HBO’s spotlight this year, the Bears, Bills, Cardinals, Giants, Jaguars, Raiders, Steelers and Rams, who might have the most pop cultural cache after drafting the NFL’s first openly gay player Michael Sam, are all fair game.