2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Browns reveal proposal to upgrade stadium

    2013-11-14 02:33

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - They've boosted their reputation and improved their record.

Now the Browns want to upgrade their stadium.

Days away from playing their biggest game in years, the NFL team unveiled plans Wednesday to modernize FirstEnergy Stadium with a two-year, $120 million renovation project.

Browns CEO Joe Banner said the club will present its proposal, which includes the installation of new, high-definition video scoreboards, escalators and a reduction of 3,000 seats, to the city's planning commission on Thursday. The Browns also will meet with Mayor Frank Jackson and city officials about approval and funding for the project.

Banner wouldn't reveal who would be paying for the endeavor, but promised the Browns ''will make a significant investment.'' The NFL recently approved a $62.5 million loan to the team to be used toward stadium improvements and Banner said all of that money will be applied toward the plan.

It's apparent the Browns will ask the city for some money, but how much is unknown.

''We have to do this together,'' Banner said. ''Obviously, the planning commission and a number of agencies in the city would have to be in line and approving this project for it to happen economics aside, and obviously economics aren't an aside, so there is nothing that can happen to the stadium without the city feeling positive.''

The Browns unveiled plans for the stadium makeover - to take place over the next two offseasons - at a splashy news conference attended by some season-ticket holders and fans. With Banner, owner Jimmy Haslam and president Alec Scheiner sitting on stage, video highlights of this season's first nine weeks were shown before renderings of the revamped stadium were presented to the audience.

Banner said there are no plans to put a dome or roof on the stadium because it would require a nine-figure investment. Also, the Browns will continue to play on a grass field rather than switch to a synthetic surface.

Banner said the Browns had internal discussions about building a new stadium, but opted to make enhancements and improvements to the 15-year-old facility, which was built with taxpayer money when Cleveland was awarded an expansion franchise in 1998.

Although the seating capacity will drop from 71,000 to 68,000, the lower bowl will be reconfigured with more seats, giving fans better sightlines of the field. The exterior also will receive a face-lift, escalators will be added to aid fan movement between levels and concessions will be improved.

The stadium improvement would continue Haslam's plan to overhaul a franchise that has never made the Super Bowl and last won an NFL title in 1964. The team spent $5 million refurbishing its headquarters and training facility in Berea this summer, and Haslam feels this stadium overhaul is a logical next step.

''It's all part of creating a world-class organization,'' Haslam said. ''We're giving our fans a great place to watch football. We're going to have a place that's dramatically different.''

Banner said the team hopes a renovated stadium would attract other major events, including concerts and soccer games.

''We have had discussions with people,'' Banner said. ''We've started to talk to some of the people in the concert and soccer world and some of those events just to build on relationship. We've tried to build and get them enthused about Cleveland as a marketplace and we talked to them a little bit about the renovation. We're very hopeful that that will be one of the outcomes.''

The announcement of the team's off-field plans coincide with the Browns (4-5) preparing for Sunday's game at Cincinnati against the first-place Bengals (6-4). It's Cleveland's most important game since 2007, when the Browns finished 10-6 and just missed the playoffs.

Haslam has enjoyed watching the Browns' on-field improvements.

''It's exciting and rewarding,'' he said. ''To be playing games that count this late in the season, this deep into November, I think is very meaningful and to see the excitement in Northeastern Ohio with our Browns fans is phenomenal.''

Banner, too, has been impressed by the team's rise under first-year coach Rob Chudzinski, who navigated the Browns through a turbulent start to the season, which has included using three quarterbacks, the trade of running back Trent Richardson and numerous injuries.

''I'd be hard-pressed to think that in nine weeks a first-time head coach can do any better or any more than he's doing,'' Banner said. ''All of the measurables that you'd look to come up with, if you even wanted to create a yardstick of measuring at this moment, I just think he's doing an outstanding job.''

NOTES: Browns QB Jason Campbell said his bruised ribs are fine and he won't wear any extra protection or padding against the Bengals. ... Banner said Haslam's continued legal issues - he's under federal investigation for fraud at his Pilot Flying J truck-stop company - have not hindered the Browns from doing business. ''From the beginning, I've said we've been able to do anything and everything we've intended to do with the Browns,'' he said. ''It's had no impact. It will have no impact and I think we're proving that as we do different things, including what we announced today, to be the truth.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jace AmaroNov 25 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (concussion) is in concussion protocol, according to head coach Rex Ryan, after suffering the concussion in Week 12 against the Buffalo Bills.

R. Griffin IIINov 25 04:23p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III was named the starter for Week 13 against the Indianapolis Colts Monday, Nov. 24, by head coach Jay Gruden, but he left open [ More ]

Michael BushNov 25 04:13p

The Arizona Cardinals signed free-agent RB Michael Bush (Bears) and cut RB Kerwynn Williams Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Brandon McManusNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos waived PK Brandon McManus Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Connor BarthNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos signed free-agent PK Connor Barth (Buccaneers) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Nov. 25, after waiving PK Brandon McManus, according to a source.

Reggie BushNov 25 03:13p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) said he'll be ready to play Thursday, Nov. 27, after missing Week 12 with an ankle injury.

Latavius MurrayNov 25 02:43p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) will undergo baseline testing for his concussion Tuesday, Nov. 25, according to a league source. He is feeling good, but he must go [ More ]

Brian HoyerNov 25 01:53p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer was never in danger of being benched in favor of QB Johnny Manziel in the team's Week 12 win over the Atlanta Falcons, according [ More ]

Blake BortlesNov 25 01:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles went 15-for-27 for just 146 yards and an interception in the team's Week 12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and he hasn't tossed a [ More ]

Matthew StaffordNov 25 01:23p

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford had the worst completion percentage in his career in Week 12 against the New England Patriots at 39.1 percent), and the Lions haven't rushed [ More ]

Brodrick BunkleyNov 25 12:03p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (quadriceps) is believed to have torn his quadriceps in the team's Week 12 game Monday, Nov. 24, but he'll undergo an MRI exam [ More ]

Jordan CameronNov 25 11:53a

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) is expected to play in Week 13.

Michael VickNov 25 09:53a

New York Jets QB Michael Vick (calf) is expected to start in Week 13 if head coach Rex Ryan is still calling the shots and Vick's calf is healthy.

Andre SmithNov 25 09:23a

Cincinnati Bengals OT Andre Smith (triceps) will miss the rest of the year with a torn triceps that will require surgery.

Justin ForsettNov 25 12:13a

Baltimore Ravens RB Justin Forsett ran for 182 yards and two scores in a 34-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints Monday, Nov. 24.

Latavius MurrayNov 24 08:13p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) remains a question mark heading into Week 13 against the St. Louis Rams. Head coach Tony Sparano said Murray hasn't passed the league's [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 24 08:03p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) is unsure when he will return from his knee injury, according to head coach Bruce Arians. We still don't know anything about Larry, [ More ]

Andre EllingtonNov 24 08:03p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington and WR Michael Floyd both saw the fewest offensive snaps of the season in the Week 12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Ellington played [ More ]

Jorvorskie LaneNov 24 06:43p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed FB Jorvorskie Lane (ankle) on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Nov. 24.

Chris JohnsonNov 24 05:53p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson will receive work on third downs, because RB Bilal Powell (illness) has been declared inactive for Week 12.

Fred JacksonNov 24 05:43p

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin) is active for the team's Week 12 game.

Bilal PowellNov 24 05:43p

The New York Jets have declared RB Bilal Powell, OL Dakota Dozier, DE IK Enemkpali, CB Josh Thomas, QB Matt Simms, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 12.

Cyrus KouandjioNov 24 05:33p

The Buffalo Bills have declared DE Bryan Johnson, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, FB Frank Summers, DL Jarius Wynn, TE MarQueis Gray, WR Marquise Goodwin, LB Randell Johnson inactive for Week 12.

Eric BerryNov 24 05:13p

The Kansas City Chiefs placed SS Eric Berry (illness) on the Non-Football Illness list Monday, Nov. 24, according to a source. Berry will miss the rest of the season.

Eric BerryNov 24 05:13p

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) underwent an MRI on his chest, which revealed a mass in his chest. The team believes he has lymphoma, but there is no definite diagnosis.

R. Griffin IIINov 24 03:33p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will start Sunday, Nov. 30, against the Indianapolis Colts, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Jay FeelyNov 24 03:33p

Free-agent PK Jay Feely (Cardinals) will visit the Denver Broncos Tuesday, Nov. 25, for a kicking audition, according to sources.

Vernon DavisNov 24 01:53p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis had three catches for just 21 yards in the team's Week 12 win over the Washington Redskins, and that came after he had [ More ]

Ryan MallettNov 24 01:13p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett (pectoral) is expected to miss the rest of the season because of the pectoral injury he suffered in Week 12.

Tony RomoNov 24 12:43p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) went 18-for-26 for 275 yards and four touchdowns in Week 12 against the New York Giants, and he didn't show any signs of [ More ]

Shane VereenNov 24 12:33p

New England Patriots RB Shane Vereen had a team-high 62 snaps in the team's Week 12 win over the Detroit Lions, but RB LeGarrette Blount had 17 snaps and [ More ]

C.J. AndersonNov 24 12:23p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson rushed 27 times for 167 yards and a touchdown in the team's Week 12 win over the Miami Dolphins, and it was the most [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group