Cleveland Browns Rumored to Be Frontrunners for HBO's Hard Knocks

Among the underrated milestones on the NFL's offseason calendar is the unveiling of the team the league and HBO have selected as the subject of the award-winning Hard Knocks, the five week annual miniseries where we get the behind-the-scenes view of what it's like to be an NFL player or coach in training camp.

Some seasons have been better than others, with the season involving the New York Jets ranking as the equivalent of Season 5 of Breaking Bad, and last season's Atlanta Falcons season ranking as the equivalent of Season 8 of The Office (not a compliment, but not an out and out insult either).

Point being, even bad Hard Knocks is decent television. And Hard Knocks that involves a dysfunctional team that employs Johnny Manziel has a chance to be amazing.

And according to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News, we may just get that:

Carucci is a former Browns employee, in case you're wondering "How the hell does a guy in Buffalo know about news involving the Browns?"

In case you didn't know the league's "Hard Knocks" rules, there are only certain teams who can be forced into doing the program against their wishes, and they are as follows -- teams with new head coaches, teams that have appeared in the playoffs the past two years, and teams that have appeared on the series in the past decade. Everyone else is safe from the cameras and microphones, if they so choose.

That list this preseason would include the Browns, Texans, Titans, Jaguars, Washington, Giants, Vikings, Buccaneers, and Rams. The order of preference among those teams is another post for another time, but as a non-Browns related aside, the Texans would be a fairly compelling watch this offseason, when you combine J.J. Watt, a quarterback competition, and a camera following D.J. Swearinger around town.

As for the Browns, obviously everyone immediately perks up at the thought of watching Johnny Manziel's escapades. The assumption is that now we will finally get to actually see him fight people in the lobby of his hotel and wake up hungover for treatment, as opposed to just hearing about it second hand.

But Johnny Manziel has spent most of this offseason in rehabilitation trying to overcome what appears to be alcoholism, at least. We haven't heard from Johnny himself since he entered rehab just before the Super Bowl. And his rehab stint comes on the heels of one of the worst rookie seasons imaginable, as he was a punchline both on and off the field. (Put it this way -- when going to rehab is the thing you were most applauded for in your rookie season, it was a bad year.)

In an odd way, if he is truly rehabilitated, Hard Knocks could be exactly the platform that Manziel needs to rebuild his image and let everyone see the supposed film rat that he had claimed to be throughout the draft process. Color me intrigued.

And if nothing else, we can compare the dysfunction of the Browns front office in the movie Draft Day to the dysfunction of the actual Browns' front office. Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast