The Plain Dealer reports that HBO approached the Cleveland Browns about being the featured team on this season's Hard Knocks, but were politely turned down. Too bad. With Johnny Manziel and Josh Gordon and an owner who might be in federal prison this time next year and the overall Brownness of the whole situation, it would have been awesome.
"It was for the same reason we didn't feel super comfortable having a camera in the draft room," head coach Mike Pettine said. "Let's get through the first time, let's get through the first year."
The Browns were actually approached before the draft, before The Johnny Manziel Show became a possibility, so the league nearly lucked into something special.
The Browns were allowed to decline based on new rules that allow the NFL to compel certain teams into appearing. Since the Browns haven't made the playoffs in the last two (11!) seasons and haven't previously appeared on the show, the only thing saving them from being a forced participant was having a first-year head coach in Mike Pettine. The unexpected firing of Rob Chudzinski was worse than we thought.