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Commentary: Another introductory news conference — been here, heard that before

Here’s the danger of holding news conferences every two or three weeks every offseason to announce another firing or another hiring.

Eventually, it all just becomes elevator music. White noise. Muzak.

All the rhetoric, explanations, apologies, vows, promises, excuses, introductions, expositions, elucidations, enunciations, interpretations (see what I mean?) and presentations, all of it just congeals into a low, indecipherable, monotonic hum.

Like a bad window air conditioner.


So it was Wednesday, when the Browns — who are runaway NFL leaders every year in offseason news conferences — invited their battle-fatigued media corps out to the team’s Berea bunker for still another news conference, at which they formally announced still another hiring.

He’s Andrew Berry, who, at age 32, is the youngest general manager in NFL history, and he’s wading into an occupational snake pit. He is the sixth Browns general manager in the last eight years, none of which, believe it or not, ended with a trip to the Super Bowl.

Berry’s introductory news conference came three weeks after Kevin Stefanski’s introductory news conference, when he became the sixth Browns head coach in the last eight years, none of which, believe it or not, ended with a trip to the Super Bowl.

So, yes, the Browns in 2020 will operate with a rookie head coach, a rookie general manager and an owner with an itchy trigger finger.

Wednesday, however, it was all seashells and balloons, because the Browns feel — no, really — that this time they have the right leadership aligned in the right way to get the team headed in the right direction.

If not, well, the next offseason is only 11 months away.

Berry appears to have a lot going for him in his new job, not the least of which is that his new job is with his old organization. He actually worked under the last two fired Browns general managers, Sashi Brown and John Dorsey, so if nothing else, that should give Berry a leg up on how NOT to get fired.

He was vice president of player personnel for the Browns in their Cro-Magnon Era (2016-18) then left — voluntarily! — to accept a better position with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Now he’s back with the Browns, this time sitting in The Big Chair, the one from which so many others have tumbled.

Berry’s introductory news conference was like all those of his predecessors. For the most part, the message remains the same, but it’s the messengers who come and go.

Now it’s go time for Berry. Not “go away” time, but “go fix this thing” time.

Wednesday, he gave his version and vision for how best to fix this thing, and, with all due respect, the recipe sounded painfully familiar. There is no magic elixir for building a championship team. You go out and find good players, hire good coaches to coach them and hope for the best.

Talking about how to do that, especially in Cleveland — where it hasn’t been successfully done in decades — not to mention listening to the next hopeful architect talk about it, can be mind numbing.

Browns fans, more than any fan base in the NFL, are suffering from a severe case of “this is how we’ll do it” oratory overdose from the leaders of their favorite football team.

As Berry was walking the media and, by proxy, the fans through his vision of how best to make that journey, it was easy for one’s eyes and ears to glaze over. All general managers and head coaches, when hired, strike all the same chords in their first news conference.

It rings a bell for some fan bases, but for this one it rings hollow.

Not because it isn’t going to happen. Who knows? Maybe this time it will. But this market has been here, heard this before. Almost none of it turned out good. It’s the old Bad Window Air Conditioner Syndrome.

Invariably, the next guys always talk about building a better mousetrap, and, under current ownership, a year or two later, there not only is no mousetrap, but the guy who talked about building a better one is gone, too.

A strategy suggestion for this new Browns regime: Keep the talking to a minimum and concentrate on the doing. The winning.

The Dawg Pound is weary, worn and woofed out. Last season took a lot out of everyone. Most notably, it took out the team’s coach and general manager, both of whom could talk a good game, but didn’t deliver enough of them.

The parade of those who’ve tried and failed is long and forgettable. It continues now with a 37-year-old rookie coach, a 32-year-old rookie general manager and a veteran fan base tired of waiting.

What’s needed most now for this football market, by this football team, is efficient professionalism, adult behavior and elite performance.

That, and only that, will result in a team worth talking about.

Jim Ingraham is a sports columnist for the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and the Medina Gazette. Contact him at 329-7135 or [email protected] and follow him @Jim_Ingraham on Twitter


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