Browns staying home for training camp this summer
MAY 20, 2014 5:13p ET
Manziel Mania is expected to bring Cleveland Browns fans to the team's headquarters this summer by the thousands, and suburban Berea will remain the team's training camp home -- for this summer, anyway.
Speaking Monday night at the annual Akron Browns Backers banquet, Browns coach Mike Pettine said the team "had discussions" about taking training camp on the road but it won't happen this summer.
NFL teams open training camp two weeks before their first preseason games, usually in late July, and camp sessions open to the public generally go until mid-August. The Browns have held training camp in Berea since returning to the league in 1999, but Pettine has been with teams that have gone off-site. The Ravens go to Westminster (Maryland) College, the Jets train in Cortland, N.Y., and the Bills train at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.
"I think there are benefits to going away," Pettine said. "I was always a part of a team that went away. You compartmentalize the year. You put the players in a setting where maybe it requires a little more focus. You take the players away from their comforts of home and get them away from their families. They're concentrated completely on football.
"But it's quite an undertaking. It's something we'll discuss and we've already had some preliminary discussions. It's something I would say is a possibility in the future."
The Browns traditionally have held one weekend or evening practice at First Energy Stadium during training camp. It's uncertain if stadium renovations will prevent that from happening this year.
After the drafting of Johnny Manziel, Browns president Alec Scheiner said in local radio interviews that the Browns had both the room and the opportunity to expand the capacity of the training camp crowd, which in recent summers has been around 5,000. A Berea record of 4,466 was set on the first weekend of camp last summer.
The average last summer was just under 2,500.
Those coming to see the Browns this summer will see just the Browns. Pettine said the Browns talked to the Redskins -- their second preseason opponent -- about joint practices but the Redskins already had a deal with the Patriots.
"You get a false sense of things sometimes (when you're alone in camp) so anytime you can go against another team I think is helpful," Pettine said. "We did reach out to a couple teams but just couldn't make it work schedule-wise this year."
"I'd like to do it early in camp. The later on you go I think it's more difficult but it's something I'm certainly not opposed to."
For three years during the Butch Davis Era the Browns had combined camp practices with the Bills, once in Erie, Pa., once at St. John Fisher and once in Berea. Before moving to Baltimore in 1995, the Browns previously held training camp at Lakeland Community College in Cleveland's eastern suburbs, Hiram College in Portage County and Kent State University.
New rules in the NFL's 2011 collective bargaining agreement that included the elimination of true two-a-day practices have led some teams to give up going off-site for camp and staying at their home facilities.