As the ides of April are upon us, and only eight days away from this year’s virtual NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns began crafting headline material in the late morning of what is traditionally Tax Day.
On what was supposed to be a day most Browns fans have been anxiously anticipating for months, the unveiling of a new look jersey, started instead with a rumor originating out of Minnesota. Reported by WFAN New York’s Marc Malusis, the Browns and Minnesota Vikings are allegedly in talks regarding a trade of star wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. A transaction that would send him packing, from Cleveland to Minneapolis.
As the rumored deal reports, the Browns would move Beckham to the Vikings in return for draft pick collateral totaling second and fifth round picks in the 2021 draft. This would be another offensive based move for the Vikings, coming off the trade that sent their former star receiver, Stefon Diggs, to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for first, fifth and sixth round picks in the 2020 draft being held next week. On the surface for the Browns, it appears as though they’d be receiving a much-diluted package of compensation for a wideout as talented as OBJ. Not to mention, the Vikings are short on cap space and would probably have to make a few additional moves in order to swing a trade for Odell. With factors such as cap space and logistics being taken into consideration, it seems the deal is simply a rumored discussion at this point with nothing appearing to be imminent.
The news of a potential Beckham trade overshadowed what was to be the exciting unveiling of the Browns’ new jersey configurations. Gone is the five-year-old look that was supposed to signal a new era of professional football in Cleveland. Jerseys that instead brought about the likes of Johnny Manziel, Hugh Jackson with an 0-16 season, and a redux on a redundant era of futility.
So, if you’re a storied franchise such as the Cleveland Browns, what direction do you take this new look?
Answer: Make what’s new, old again.
Aside from the alternate all-brown color rush jerseys with orange numbers being the most modern look they could muster, and it is indeed a very clean look, the Browns chose to harken back to the glory days of Bernie Kosar and Clay Matthews, re-incorporating a very classic vibe. The new(ish) combination of the white jersey with brown numbers, or the brown jersey with white numbers, in which those jersey tops can be paired with either white or brown pants that showcase brown and orange striping up each pantleg, is a beholden site for eyes that had been offended by the previous uniform iteration.
The jersey reaction of die-hard Browns fans on social media was well received, after the initial swirling Odell rumor mill, of course. But, that’s what it’s like to be a Browns fan in a nutshell. What’s new is old again; the perception of un-settlement within the ranks of player versus front office, and the constant tug at the heartstrings of fans who just want nothing more than a competent and competitive football team.
Even during a nationwide lockdown and quarantine, the Cleveland Browns find new (old) ways of stoking the flames of fandemonium.