The Cleveland Browns announced Thursday that it has partnered with the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton and Greater Cleveland Sports Commission to potentially host the annual three-day draft, which has swelled into a made-for-TV spectacle and showcase for the league — a virtual football-palooza.
The group delivered its application to league headquarters in New York last week, and as luck would have it, Commissioner Roger Goodell visited the team’s headquarters on Thursday.
“I noticed that draft announcement on my way in,” Goodell said as he sat next to Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam during a fan forum before the team’s final training camp practice. “Was that a coincidence?”
With their rich tradition, the Browns, who are coming off a 1-15 season and have been a staple at the top of the draft for several years, are eager to move back among the league’s model franchises. Hosting the draft might be one small step toward restoring the team’s glory.
Dee Haslam said landing the draft would not only be a major coup for Cleveland and its fans but would also provide an opportunity to showcase the football-obsessed region.
“Once you get here and see what a great place it is, we can tell a story all we want, but getting people to come here and seeing it and feeling it,” she said. “The draft is amazing exposure because it goes everywhere and people see it, and so we’re really excited about that opportunity to get people to come to Northeast Ohio and see what a fantastic place it is.”