Browns rumored to be favorite for ‘Hard Knocks’

Johnny Manziel could make the Browns an attractive option for the HBO series "Hard Knocks", and the NFL could force them to participate.

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The Cleveland Browns are one of a handful of teams that could be forced to participate in the popular HBO series Hard Knocks.

According to NFL beat writer Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News, the Browns are the front-runners to be the featured team on the program next season.

Carucci was the Senior Editor of the Browns and co-host of Cleveland Browns Daily from 2011-2013.

After having difficulty finding teams to volunteer for the show, NFL owners agreed at their fall meetings in 2013 that a team could be forced to participate if it meets a set of criteria.

The teams that are exempted are those that have a first-year head coach; teams that have made the playoffs in at least one of the last two seasons; and teams that have participated in the Hard Knocks program in the previous 10 seasons.

Due to frequent head coaching changes, the Browns haven’t been forced to participate in the show.

The Browns kept Head Coach Mike Pettine however, and with Johnny Manziel on the roster, they are an attractive option for the program.

The other teams that could be forced to participate are the Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, and Washington Redskins.