BEREA, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns will have to earn their stripes this season.
Coach Hue Jackson had the team’s equipment managers remove the brown and white stripes that go down the middle of the team’s helmets for practice. Players instead are wearing all orange.
“There is a certain way that the Cleveland Browns have to play, and we are going to earn our stripes,” Jackson said Tuesday at the team’s OTA practice open to the media. “The guys that put them on their helmets and get the chance to wear them, it is going to be because they demonstrate the characteristics that we are looking for in Cleveland Browns players.
“That is the way that they are going to play. That is how we are going to conduct ourselves and go out and win football games.”
Coaches routinely think up all kinds of odd motivational tools, and Jackson, who has one win combined over the past two seasons, has added “the stripe” to his repertoire. Earlier this offseason, he jumped into Lake Erie to make good on his vow that 2017 would not be worse than 2016.
“Hue is saying it’s a privilege to be on the team, and I think that’s something that’s good because guys are going to work extra hard to get them,” linebacker Chris Kirksey told 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland.
The Browns did not have a stripe on their helmets during their first two NFL seasons or in their four seasons in the All-America Football Conference. They wore white leather from 1946 to ’49 and orange leather in 1950 and ’51. A single white stripe was added in 1952, and in 1960 brown stripes were added on either side of it.
How does a player earn his stripes in 2018?
He makes the team.
“Obviously, if you are on the team, you are going to have them,” Jackson said. “That is for sure. If you are not, you won’t. It is that simple. It is pretty simple. Kind of cut and dry.”