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Ex-coach Hue Jackson says Cleveland Browns lied about plans during his tenure

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CLEVELAND — Former Browns coach Hue Jackson said owner Jimmy Haslam gave him a contract extension midway through a winless 2017 season and that he was lied to from the start about the team’s rebuilding plans.

During a wide-ranging radio interview Monday with ESPN 850, Jackson said the Browns’ efforts to improve while he was with them were flawed by philosophical differences.

Jackson said he was never told by either Haslam or then-general manager Sashi Brown that the Browns were in a roster “tear down” or else he wouldn’t have accepted the job. He was Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator before being hired in Cleveland, where he went 0-16 in his second season and 3-36-1 over two-plus seasons before being fired.

“There is no doubt I was lied to by ownership and the executive team,” Jackson said, adding there was a divide between the coaching staff and management.

“They were going to be football plus analytics, but they intentionally made it football versus analytics,” he said. “They were going to take two years and they were going to find a way to use us as an experiment to make sure that they got the data that they needed for it to get better — at the expense of whoever — and that’s not right.

“That’s not the way it should be.”

A team spokesman said the Browns would not comment on Jackson’s claims.

Jackson said he signed a contract extension midway through the 2017 season and wanted to make it public, but the team refused.

The 55-year-old said he’s writing a book about his time with the Browns. The team went 1-15 in his first season, winless the second — joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to go 0-16 — and he was dismissed after a 2-5-1 start in 2018.

Jackson, who is currently out of the NFL, said his chances to win in Cleveland were undermined by the team’s overreliance on statistical data and dismal drafting. He said the team “also lied to try and paint the picture that I was against analytics.”

“People need to go back and look at those drafts and see where those players are today,” he said. “That should tell you all you need to know. They’re not on this team. They haven’t been. Some of them aren’t even in the league, but we were were expected to win.

“You can’t win that way.”

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Pro Football Hall of Fame wants induction speeches for upcoming classes limited to 6 minutes

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In 2016, Brett Favre spoke for 36 minutes in one of the most memorable Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speeches ever, a mark that was topped by Tony Gonzalez’s 39-minute address in 2019.

Nobody will challenge those marks next month when the classes of 2020 and 2021 are enshrined in Canton, Ohio.

The 19 members of those combined classes who will be giving enshrinement speeches have been asked to limit their remarks to six minutes. An Academy Awards-style musical cue will end each speech at 8 minutes if necessary.

“So, they’re saying there’s like a blinking light at six minutes, maybe a little bell going off at seven minutes and then at eight minutes, they say that someone’s going to come up and lead the applause to end the speech,” said Peyton Manning, a member of the Class of 2021.

“I look forward to seeing them come up and lead the applause while Alan Faneca is still speaking,” Manning cracked. “Good luck getting him off the stage. Or anybody that’s an offensive linemen is probably tough to pull.”

Manning said the inductees have communicated via a group text “about everybody trying to honor that to be respectful of the person behind you and have everybody have their time.”

The Centennial Class wasn’t enshrined last year because of the pandemic, so the weekend will mark the largest number of inductees in the Hall of Fame’s history, making time limits on speeches especially important.

“I hear it’s been a great point of emphasis in years’ past, but I don’t think it’s been stressed very well,” Manning said.

Or adhered to, actually.

Harold Carmichael will deliver the first speech on the night of Saturday, Aug. 7, when the Centennial Class of 2020 is honored. Drew Pearson, whose career overlapped with Carmichael’s for 11 seasons, will lead off the speeches the following night when the Class of 2021 is enshrined.

There are a dozen speeches from the Class of 2020, with Bill Cowher wrapping things up on the first night.

Interspersed with the 12 live speeches Saturday are video tributes for the eight members of the class elected posthumously, each of whom was enshrined in a special ceremony on April 28 in Canton.

On Sunday, Aug. 8, Pearson will lead the seven members of the Class of 2021 in delivering their enshrinement speeches. Charles Woodson goes last, and there also will be a video tribute to former Steelers scout Bill Nunn, who was enshrined in April.

Manning said he’s putting the finishing touches on his speech and “I’m right there at 7 minutes and 50 seconds as we speak.”

“Unfortunately, it’s just not enough time to thank everybody,” Manning said. “The good thing is for the past 5 years, either on a handwritten note or a phone call or in person, I’ve had a chance to thank the people personally. So, even though I won’t get to repeat them all in the speech, the thank-you’s are as heartfelt now as they were then.”

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Kansas City Chiefs re-sign defensive end Alex Okafor to 1-year deal

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Veteran defensive end Alex Okafor has signed a one-year deal to return to the Kansas City Chiefs, just days before the first players begin reporting for training camp.

The Chiefs did not disclose financial terms in announcing the deal Tuesday.

The 30-year-old Okafor has 30 sacks and 183 tackles in eight NFL seasons, including the past two with the Chiefs. He joined the club as a free agent from New Orleans in March 2019, signing a three-year, $18 million contract.

Okafor made an immediate impact in helping rebuild the Kansas City defense, recording five sacks and 21 combined tackles in 10 games. A torn pectoral muscle in Week 15 forced him to finish the season on injured reserve. He missed playing in the team’s victory over San Francisco in Super Bowl LIV.

The veteran signed a restructured contract in August 2020 that reduced his salary cap figure for that upcoming season by $2 million and voided the final year of his original three-year deal.

A hamstring injury limited Okafor to 11 games last season. He finished with three sacks and 16 total tackles. He contributed in a backup role during the team’s playoff run, picking up five total tackles in three postseason contests, including one stop against Tampa Bay in the team’s 31-9 loss in Super Bowl LV.

Okafor expects to compete for a backup role behind anticipated starters Frank Clark and Chris Jones as the team’s edge rushers. Competition at defensive end also includes veteran Taco Charlton, second-year pro Mike Danna and 2021 fourth-round draft pick Joshua Kaindoh.

Clark was charged in California with felony possession of an assault weapon stemming from a traffic stop in March. In June, he was arrested in Los Angeles after police said they saw a submachine gun in his car.

Chiefs players begin reporting to training camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph on Friday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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See inside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ visit to the White House

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers visited the White House on Tuesday to celebrate their victory in Super Bowl LV — the team’s first visit with the president since the Bucs did not go to Washington, D.C., following their 2003 Super Bowl win. How did the ceremony go for Tom Brady & Co.?

Players took videos while touring the White House, Brady had jokes for President Joe Biden, and the team presented the president with the traditional gift of a No. 46 jersey.

Here’s a roundup of the visit via social media.



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