The second episode of this season of Hard Knocks features the Cleveland Browns’ preseason opener against the New York Giants. The Browns win the outing 20-10, but it must be noted that the Giants accumulated only three wins during the 2017 season. Nonetheless, this is a much-needed litmus test for a team that hasn’t had more wins than losses in a year since 2007. A single win in a non-regular season game is not much of an indicator for success, but it did test the perseverance of one Antonio Calloway. Calloway was not in the first episode of Hard Knocks; he was acquired after a trade for one Corey Coleman, a wide receiver who showed no signs of coming out of a catching slump.
If one were to google Antonio Calloway, his name would appear in articles that bared titles with the words “unusual punishment”. This is because coach Hue Jackson is punishing the troublesome rookie by not limiting his playing time but increasing his presence on the field. With no breaks between offensive plays, the wide receiver hardly has time to catch his breath. Calloway is being reprimanded and molded for success in a harsh manner, due to his small but continuous run-ins with the law. HBO provided footage of his most recent issue, a traffic stop that revealed Calloway had a suspended license and traces of marijuana in his vehicle. By not reporting the incident, the Browns were completely blindsided when the news hit media outlets. On top of having the arduous task of building a functioning gridiron team, Coach Hue Jackson must now babysit grown men. Coach Jackson and the wide receivers coach enlist the help of the talented and level-headed Jarvis Landry to mentor the naïve younger player.
HBO knows how to break up the tension by inserting appropriate comic relief. Every moment in the Browns training camp is not total bleakness. In between the serious nature of coaching and obeying the law, there is a short segment of a player being teased by fellow teammates for not realizing his purple catching gloves were indeed pink.
“Be Famous or Be Forgotten”. These are the most profound words spoken in the episode. As this season of Hard Knocks progresses, we will see if the Browns will be remembered for having a turnaround season, or for remaining the laughing stock of the NFL.