John Dorsey is trying to awaken the sleeping giant that is the Cleveland Browns, and in the process, Dorsey and Freddie Kitchens are bringing some of the giants of yesteryear back to speak to the team.
On Thursday night, the eve of rookie camp, Kitchens and Dorsey invited former Browns receiver Webster Slaughter, running backs Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner, quarterback Bernie Kosar, Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown and others to have dinner with the rookies and address them. Slaughter even stuck around to watch practice yesterday.
All were part of the Browns’ glory years of championships or AFC title games.
“We had a lot of those guys around,’’ Kitchens said. “John and I wanted them to see what it was to be a Cleveland Brown and what it meant to the city and take it from experience that somebody had already had. I think it went really well.”
It never gets old for Kitchens, a Browns fan growing up, to listen to Jim Brown speak.
“I cherish that time around him because you know what he went through in life and in the game of football,’’ he said. “Of course, what he means to the City of Cleveland and the Cleveland Browns organization speaks for itself. He’s seen a lot in his time. If you think about 83 years, that covers a lot of history in the country good and bad. It is just good to have a resource like that to lean on, talk to and just to be around and know what he has went there.”
The rookies aren’t the only ones getting a Browns history lesson.
“We even did it with the veterans,’’ Kitchens said. “Our first team meeting, we showed them a video of what the Browns meant to the city and what the Browns mean to the NFL in general and some of the good times that Cleveland has had in the past.
“When you talk about three AFC Championships in the 80s, just knowing what those guys went through to get there, hopefully, our guys can feed off of that some. I know it doesn’t hurt to be able to communicate with those guys to show them what could happen and the potential of happening.”