By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Extra Points …
Get ready for change: The Browns are still working on upgrading the “fan experience” at games this season, but one change is coming that is out of their control.
The NFL has enacted new security measures at all games that may be seen as an inconvenience and culture shock at first. Beginning with the first preseason games, fans can not enter the stadium with backpacks, coolers, briefcases, large purses, camera or computer bags – not even a seat cushion.
The only approved bags fans can carry in are a clear plastic tote bag, no bigger than 12 inches-by-12 inches, or a one gallon plastic freezer bag; plus a small “clutch” bag approximately the size of a hand.
“It’s all about safety,” said Browns President Alec Scheiner. “This is a reaction to things that have happened at other sporting events.”
Basically, what the Twin Towers bombings in 2001 did to airline travel, so have the bombings at this year’s Boston Marathon done to NFL games.
The NFL has been re-examining stadium security measures since 2001 . There have been security enhancements such as patdowns and metal detector screenings already in place. The limitations on bags is a direct result of the tragedy in Boston in April. Some major college programs – Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State – do not permit bags of any size at football games.
Scheiner and the NFL believe that the clear-bag restrictions will make bag checks at stadium gates easier and will get fans through the lines more quickly. There will be checkpoints before the gates themselves to prepare fans for the bag restrictions and to check prohibited bags during games.
The NFL will sell approved clear bags with NFL and team logos on them, but non-branded bags fitting the criteria can be used. Scheiner said the Browns will provide free branded bags to season-ticket holders before the start of the regular season.
The bag restrictions take effect, however, with the first preseason game at FirstEnergy Stadium on Aug. 8.
Fans in northern climate cities can’t be happy about the seat cushion restrictions. But the NFL says that blankets can still be brought to games.
Kicking it: Former Browns punter Reggie Hodges, who operates Hodges Kicking Academy, is holding a camp for punters and kickers on Friday, July 19, at Lou Groza Field in Berea. Hodges said openings are still available. Cost for one session (punter or kicker) is $200, or $300 for both. More information is at www.HodgesKickingAcademy.com.
Staff complete: Zak Gilbert, the Browns’ new director of communication, has hired two new members to complete the team’s media relations staff.
Rob McBurnett, formerly with the NFL office, has been named communications coordinator, and D.J. Philippe, most recently an intern with the Golden State Warriors, was named communications assistant.
They join Dan Murphy, who was retained as communications coordinator.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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