• Joey Jarzynka

Browns' HC Kevin Stefanski Quotes 8.27.20

COURTESY OF CLEVELAND BROWNS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT


Opening statement: 

“As I am sure you are aware, we have moved practice back a couple minutes this afternoon. We have had a really good day of dialogue, and I think it stems from a really good few months of dialogue. This is something that there has been a conversation within our team with our teammates, with our coaches, with our staff and with ownership. I think there has been such a great dialogue throughout the spring and into the summer. With everything going on in the world, in the sports world and just in the world in general, we met again this morning. I met early in the morning with the leadership committee, with the social justice committee and we started talking. We then went to meetings, had a walkthrough and called the team up, and we kept talking. Eventually, the players themselves got together and had even more dialogue. I am really proud of those guys. I am proud of the leaders on this football team. They have come up with the plan. We are going to practice today and we are going to get some good work in, but we are going to get it done quickly and efficiently so we can spend some more time this afternoon everybody sitting down and figuring out ways that we can be about action because ultimately, this organization is about this. We want to be pillars in this community. We want to stand for what is right and do everything we can to make sure that this town, this city of Cleveland knows that we have their back.”

On if Browns players’ met on the field today: 

“Yes.”

On if he was involved in the Browns players’ meeting on the field: 

“We started off involved, and then I just felt it was important to let the players come together and have a voice.”

On if there is something he has in mind where the team can be impactful in the short term, including a reference to DE Myles Garrett stating a desire to start a petition to criminalize hate speech in all forums: 

“I think that is what we are searching for, all of us – what are those things? I told the players this morning, to their credit and to this organization’s credit, they are doing some great things. Sometimes you do not see it immediately. There is frustration involved right now with everyone, but I do not want that frustration to stop us from continuing to do our work in the community and to feel good about what we are doing. We are chipping away at it. Progress comes in fits and starts. I just believe so strongly in the leadership of this team, and Myles is a very thoughtful person. I told him that, and that is why I appreciate his lead on this.”

On if there comes a point where he is worried about getting the team ready for the season with the realities of what is occurring, including social justice issues in the country and COVID-19: 

“I am in the moment, and what this moment calls for is dialogue and unity. I think we are getting that in a bunch of ways from this football team. That is what I really appreciate about the guys we have.”

On his reaction to the NBA postponing games last night and if had a feeling the Browns would become involved: 

“I just think it goes all the way back to the spring, and it goes back to the conversations we have been having that are ongoing. I am not naive to think that we will not continue to talk about this and there will continue to be incidents. That is what we are working really hard on making sure that we take care of this city first. I think our players are so mindful of making an impact in the city of Cleveland. Like everybody, I am watching what is going on. Yeah, I was watching what was going on with the NBA. I do not know what the right answer is – I think we are all searching for that – but what we are trying to be about is action, and that is part of what the plan is today with the players and get our arms wrapped around some action items.”

On guiding players through practice today when they have a lot on their minds in general and prepare to have further discussions after practice: 

“Yeah, we are lucky to get out there on the football field and focus on football for a little while and take your mind off this. I think we can do that. I am not naive to think that some guys will be thinking about those meetings like you mentioned, but this was the player’s idea to go out there and practice today. I am following their lead on that.”

On the Browns social justice leadership committee and their meetings since March and being back in Berea:

“I want to say we have met three times since we have been back [in Berea]. There are a bunch of action items, so to speak, and things we are planning on doing with the NFL this season and things that we are doing in the community. We have had great assistance from our staff here at the Browns and explaining all of the resources that are available to the players. Just really getting their feel for what type of impact with which organizations do they want to have an impact in the community.”

On the Browns players on the social justice leadership committee:

“It is about 12 [players].”

Current members of the Browns social justice leadership committee:

  • WR Odell Beckham Jr.

  • G Joel Bitonio

  • DE Myles Garrett

  • T Chris Hubbard

  • LS Charley Hughlett

  • T Kendall Lamm

  • WR Jarvis Landry

  • QB Baker Mayfield

  • DT Larry Ogunjobi

  • S Sheldrick Redwine

  • DE Olivier Vernon

On if DE Myles Garrett is one of the members of the social justice leadership committee:

“Yes, he is.”

On the Cleveland Browns, Cavaliers and Indians starting an alliance to engage in social justice efforts together and the genesis of that collaboration:

“That goes back to the spring. Those conversations started somewhere between AB (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry) and I and (Cavaliers Head Coach) J.B. Bickerstaff and (Cavaliers General Manager) Koby Altman. Then as we started having conversations, we reached out to the Indians and (Indians Manager) Tito Francona and (Indians President of Baseball Operations) Chris Antonetti. I think we all realized that all of us wanted to help make an impact, and we felt like we were stronger together. It is by coincidence that it has been announced this morning, but that is something that we have been working on since the spring.”

On the Browns #BeTheSolution campaign, the team’s social justice efforts for the past several years and if the team takes pride in striving to be leaders in the social justice arena:

“I would just tell you, all of my experiences with this organization and with this ownership, it is about making a positive impact in the community. It is what we are about. I have been so proud to be a part of that. It is something also that we all realize is not going to be fixed tomorrow so it is just a constant need of attention, of resources, of dialogue and of action.”

On if there is an update on CB Greedy Williams’ status:

“I really do not have an update right now.”

On if Williams is expected to practice today:

“I don’t think so.”

On if he has learned more about the team’s maturity during social justice conversations:

“I think am learning a lot about the players, period. I finally got to meet a lot of them in July. There are players that I am still getting to know. I will tell you, I have been so impressed with the leadership on this team. We have good football players, but we have good people. I think they all understand the impact that we can make in our community here in Cleveland. I think am getting to learn and getting know a lot about all of them.”

On if he can see the raw emotion everyone is experiencing right now during their meetings today and how he helps players process those as head coach:

“I think there is a lot of anger and there is frustration, but I think there is also a resolute feeling that these guys want to be part of the solution. As much as we want to yell and scream, and sometimes we do, we want to figure out a way to help. We want to figure out a way to affect change. That, I think, is what you are seeing here today and you are going to continue to see in this building for as long as we are doing this.”

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