The view from the inside

Posted by Vic Carucci on June 29, 2011 – 10:00 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

I’m a lucky guy. Here I am, sitting in my office at the Berea, Ohio, headquarters of one of the best-known franchises in all of sports, writing this column.

To my right is a radio studio. Beginning late next month, I’ll be spending plenty of time there.

Two floors down is a television set. Going to be hanging out quite a bit in that area as well in the coming weeks, months, and hopefully years.

Everywhere else in the building is all that makes a pro football team tick. Well, not all, but that will change as soon the players get here.

And I’m right in the middle of it. As I said, lucky guy.

After more than a decade of covering the NFL from a figurative altitude of 30,000 feet — where I kept a daily watch on all 32 teams — I’m now at ground level concentrating primarily on one team. This team. Your team.

The Browns.

What I discovered during 12 seasons at NFL.com is that all football, like all politics, is local. By far, the question I heard most often was, “How do you think my team is going to do?”

When it came to loyalty, few, if any, of the millions of regular visitors to the site were generic. You didn’t encounter a whole lot of people who called themselves “league” fans. They rooted for specific colors.

And whenever I said anything about any one of their teams, especially if it was the slightest bit negative, I would hear about it. Or if I complimented a rival of a fan’s favorite club, I’d hear about that, too. You love those guys, you hate us. The fact was, I didn’t love or hate any team. My comments never had anything to do with personal bias, but fans often perceived them as such regardless of the rooting interest in question.

Which is what makes this new gig — my second with the Browns after working with the team in 2005 — such a great fit. As long as every interaction is going to strike a chord with a particular fan base, I decided I might as well interact with some of the most passionate fans on the planet.

Beginning later this summer, I’ll be doing that for an hour a day, five days a week, while hosting a new show called “Cleveland Browns Daily.” It will air on 850 ESPN WKNR, and be streamed live on this site as well as on ESPNCleveland.com.

The aforementioned radio studio is only steps away from everyone who is anyone at the team’s training facility, and it will be hopping all year long. You’ll regularly hear from Browns president Mike Holmgren, general manager Tom Heckert, and coach Pat Shurmur. You’ll hear from other members of the front-office and coaching staffs. You’ll hear from the players, from the Browns radio team of Jim Donovan and Doug Dieken, and from national media types.

And when I’m not behind a microphone, I’ll be blogging and writing columns and feature stories for this site. Staff writer Matt Florjancic and I will keep you up to speed with the latest news and notes about the Browns as well as the rest of the NFL.

Team-produced video pieces and pre- and post-game radio shows are also going to be a part of this latest chapter in a pro football journalism career that began in the late1970s. So, too, will my weekly appearances as a host and co-host on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

I consider this incredible journey to be a blessing. It has placed me on the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills beats, at playoff and conference-championship games, Super Bowls and Pro Bowls. It has given me the chance to witness record-breaking moments and cover numerous players and coaches who would wind up in — or are destined for — the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

My travels also allowed me to be on hand for some of the more triumphant and agonizing moments at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Whenever I see that orange helmet, I think of the tradition and rich history that put the Browns in a very special place on the nation’s sporting landscape.

Now, I am back in that place. And I’m a lucky guy.

Follow me on Twitter @viccarucci


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Getting Healthy, Part IX

Posted by jamirhowerton on June 13, 2011 – 2:03 pm

Monday, June 13, 2011:

Cleveland Browns fans, welcome back to my Getting Healthy with the Browns blog.

After a month’s time, I’m down nine pounds and I think it could’ve probably been more. It was good dealing with reality of vacation time and holidays within that month. I think that was really good to be put in a real-life situation where you’re trying to learn the proper ways of how to eat and exercise and to stay on a strict, disciplined regime. Overall, it was really good having the challenges. I came out nine pounds lighter and now, I have something to build on and that can propel me into something I can grow from.

This is just the start of the journey. It was really good, looking at my age and understanding you’re only getting older. You just want to be healthy and start coming into being health conscious. At the end of the day, it was really something I wanted to put myself through and learn from the people that take care of our players because they’re the best in the business.

On a personal note, you want to be healthy for your family. You want to be healthy to set the example for your family. You’re the head of your household and you really want to set that tone. You’ve got to lead by example.

One of the things I learned from Coach Kent Johnston was to basically stay consistent. Now that I have the knowledge of how to work out properly, how to eat, it’s just staying consistent. With that, it’s not really a weight issue with the numbers falling, but it becomes a lifestyle. I think that was the main lesson that I learned over this month. Even though it was a short period of time, it’s about a lifestyle and now, you’ve got a taste of what you can learn from. I still have way more to learn because it’s more than not eating a hot dog here, a hamburger there or slamming down a pizza.

Thank you for joining me on the start of my journey.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.


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Getting Healthy, Part VIII

Posted by jamirhowerton on June 7, 2011 – 2:13 pm

Tuesday, June 7, 2011:

Cleveland Browns fans, welcome back to my Getting Healthy with the Browns blog.

Where I’m at now, I feel empowered because I have the knowledge and I understand clearly now, whereas before, I would eat to workout. I was breaking the rules there because I was in-taking too many calories and wasn’t burning up enough calories on the food I was taking in. Now, I have a clear understanding of what a 1,500-calorie diet looks like, what an 1,800-calorie diet looks like and how to count those calories. I also know how to count the number of calories that I’m burning in a workout. Just being consciously aware of what I’m putting in my system, how I’m burning it up, for the most part, it’s really staying consistent and focused and really incorporating it into my lifestyle where it truly becomes a lifestyle.

If you know you’re on the road and you’re going to be up for hours at the same time, you know you’re going to be working, standing on the sidelines and running sideline-to-sideline. Covering a game, that accounts for exercise. When you put the number of hours that you’re standing on your feet, running around and focusing on the game, the key is to have little granola bars or healthy trail mix on you so you can always keep your energy going and keep that fire burning.

Check back in with the blog and follow me on Twitter for updates on Getting Healthy with the Browns.


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Getting Healthy, Part VII

Posted by jamirhowerton on June 3, 2011 – 6:38 pm

Cleveland Browns fans, welcome back to my Getting Healthy with the Browns blog.

The week has gone pretty well, just with the strict rules of eating and the strict rules of working out. It felt like I was coming down with a little cold with the change of the weather, going from hot to cold out here.

My body felt worn down, but I guess what I’ve been learning through all of this was patience. Nothing is going to come off fast. There are ways you can go on these little crash diets, but what I’ve learned is if you really want to do it the right way, eat properly, work out and exercise regularly. You’re not just going to lose five pounds in one day. It’s going to be a process. It might be two pounds, depending on your body and depending upon how much weight you’re trying to lose. Everything is a process and you have to be patient. What I’ve been going through is learning that aspect of the game. I feel like I’m putting in all this work and I should be losing more weight. I keep seeing the same number and I’m getting frustrated. I don’t know if I’m hitting a wall or whatever it is, but I’m scheduled to talk to Coach Kent Johnston next week, Monday, and those are going to be some of the questions I’m going to ask him. I feel like I’m doing everything the right way, staying on my strict diet and I’m working out. The weight’s just not falling off as fast as I’d like it to, whereas, people around me are telling me, “I see a little difference. You’re slimming down in the face.”

Recently, I’ve added boxing into the game. I’ve been doing a minute of just hitting the heavy bag with combinations or just jab-jab-jab, jab-jab-jab-hook or I’m just going right-left-right-left. I’ll go three sets, on for a minute and take a 30-second break. It’s been exhausting, but definitely gets the upper body, cardio and a lot of that. I have a lot of respect for boxers. That’s a hard gig.

Check back in with the blog and follow me on Twitter for updates on Getting Healthy with the Browns.


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