The Browns clearly aren’t having a normal training camp. The man in charge of it disagrees.
Asked on Sunday how much he’d like to have a normal camp, Stefanski resisted.
“This is normal,” Stefanski said. “This is normal guys. This is NFL football. As far as I know.”
“I would tell you, respectfully, we really do focus on what we can control,” Stefanski said. “I understand that there are things that happen that certainly get attention, and that is OK. This is a great game. I know our fans love this game and follow every step along the way. For us, we really are focused on trying to get better. We are not where we need to be, and we have a lot of work to do. That is what we are focusing on.”
It’s the right thing for Stefanski to say because it’s the only thing he can say. Openly sharing his private concerns about, for example, whether he’ll lose Watson for the full season and when the final answer will come, won’t make things any better for the Browns.
Besides, they can’t complain. They welcomed these complications by trading for Watson, without urging him to settle all cases, admit wrongdoing to the league and accept his punishment, and show true public remorse — not for creating issues for his team or family but for engaging in, as Judge Sue L. Robinson called it, non-violent sexual assault of at least four women, and quite possibly another 20 more, at least.
The Browns were content to worry only about whether Watson would do something like this again. They overlooked what he’d already done, even if his past behavior would resonate into the team’s future.
They surely knew it would. They decided not to worry about it. They decided to get through it.
So maybe this training camp really is “normal.” For the Browns. It’s happening the way it normally would after trading for a quarterback who was accused of non-violent sexual assault by 24 women.
Still, Stefanski surely hopes this “normal” training camp doesn’t become the norm.