Cleveland Browns Head Coach, Hue Jackson took questions at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this week and was expecting Johnny Manziel questions. When asked about Manziel's status with the team on March 9 at 4:01 pm (the moment the Browns are expected to release Manziel), Jackson said according to NFL.com, "I knew that question was coming."
He then went to the safe, politically correct statement, "We made a statement two weeks ago about Johnny Manziel and I'm going to stand by that." As fans, we knew that answer was coming.
It was a normal answer in today's world of sports media. Don't tip the hand to give any information one way or the other. Jackson has done nothing to suggest that he is hiding anything or avoiding questions. He has never seemed arrogant in his press conferences or interviews. Most fans would have accepted the answer and moved on.
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However, Jackson was not done with the question. "I want to make sure we all understand that that behavior will not be tolerated as we move forward." He continued, "Our organization is going to take a stand and we're going to move on from those types of situations as we move forward."
Coach Jackson didn't just tip his hand. He just dumped a Gatorade cooler over Browns fans heads! For the first time in a long time, the Browns didn't give a vanilla answer to a hot topic question. For the first time in a long time, a Browns coach made a statement. Not Browns Owner, Jimmy Haslam. Not Sashi Brown, Browns Executive Vice President, but Hue Jackson, Browns Head Coach.
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Jackson was again asked about Manziel later and quipped, "Can't we stop talking about him?"
Hue Jackson has a reputation for being a no-nonsense guy. He communicates his expectations to players and it is up to them to meet those expectations. If they stray outside of Jackson's boundaries, they are held accountable. Jackson made it clear that the Browns will be running the organization that way moving forward.
Jackson was asked about Josh Gordon and if the Browns had been given a timeline on the reinstatement process that could mean Gordon's return to the Browns after a year-long suspension for substance abuse. Jackson said the Browns had not been given a timeline or any further information on Gordon.
Jackson discussed Dwayne Bowe, "His status with the team will be addressed soon." Bowe was a free agent signee last season at a cost of $9 million. He caught six passes last season and missed several games due to injury.
Bowe was pictured standing at a distance from the team on the sidelines during a game, leading the media to speculate he was the problem. Later in the season, it appeared that Bowe had been the victim of a control battle between the former general manager, Ray Farmer and the former head coach, Mike Pettine.
Bowe was the one who made out on the deal, regardless of who was to blame. Farmer and Pettine were fired hours after the last game of the season and Bowe made $1.5 million per catch.
Hue Jackson has made it clear that a culture change is happening in Cleveland. He is not begging free agents to stay. He's looking for a character as he talks with NFL hopefuls at the Combine. He has put together an impressive coaching staff and wants to win. For Browns fans, Hue Jackson is music to their ears.
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