Report: Cleveland Browns front-runners for HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ this season

Mike Pettine and the Cleveland Browns are reported to be the leading candidate for the next edition of "Hard Knocks."

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After spending training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013, it’s looking like HBO’s series "Hard Knocks" may make a return to Ohio for grunts, heartbreak and gags with the Cleveland Browns.

We could only make it two paragraphs before mentioning Johnny Manziel. After about seven weeks, he remains in inpatient rehab of treatment for substance abuse issues and his priority is still getting himself healthy. His future with the team, which signed veteran quarterback Josh McCown to a three-year deal in free agency, remains uncertain.

This wouldn’t be head coach Mike Pettine’s first "Hard Knocks" rodeo. Pettine served as the New York Jets defensive coordinator in 2010 when a pre lap-band Rex Ryan delivered one of the most memorable lines in the series’ history (warning: language!):

If not the Browns, "Hard Knocks" would have to find a home at one of these eight other destinations by virtue of the exemptions for the show: Rams, Buccaneers, Vikings, Titans, Texans, Jaguars, Redskins and Giants.  

New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin has mellowed over the years, but I don’t think HBO cameramen would have a safe work environment if they tried to shove cameras into his face.

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