By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor
So there were the players on Friday, going through their warm-ups before an afternoon practice.
And there was the team president, going over the events from a memorable morning.
It was the start of the Browns’ training camp, and the only thing wrong with this picture was that the full roster of players did their work while being virtually ignored by a large crowd of reporters and cameras.
That’s because the reporters and cameras were surrounding Mike Holmgren, who provided a briefing on the big news that had broken at the start of the day: Browns owner Randy Lerner is in negotiations with truck-stop magnate Jimmy Haslam, who is interested in purchasing controlling interest of the club.
Understandably, football took a backseat to business. But only briefly.
Once Holmgren answered some questions and assured the media that the Browns would remain in Cleveland, the attention did shift to the action on the field.
There was plenty of talk about whether the negotiations for the sale of the Browns was a distraction to the players and coaches as they take the most important step to date in preparing for the 2012 season.
However, watching the practice, it was hard to find any signs that those on the football side of the operation were thinking about anything other than what was happening on the field. Players moved swiftly, mostly crisply, and with a general sense of urgency through drills. Coaches shouted instructions, reminders, and corrections throughout.
Veteran players, such as D’Qwell Jackson and Phil Dawson, fielded questions about the negotiations’ potential for interfering with the task of trying to finally turn the team into a winner. It would be unrealistic to think that the players and coaches were oblivious to the buzz from the biggest story to hit the Browns in many years, and Jackson and Dawson acknowledged that was hardly the case. Jackson acknowledged that the news took him by surprise.
But the linebacker put it best for everyone in the organization when, in sharing the advice he shares with younger teammates, said, “…worry about what you can control.”
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