Surviving History: A Letter To John Dorsey

Our Buddy Boy

Dear Mr. Dorsey,

I am writing you this letter on the eve of the 2019 Draft on behalf of all Browns fans in this great country and throughout the world. And perhaps I am writing this letter for myself, as a form of therapy but also out of fear as I try so hard to shed the past and look to the future of this team. I have many scars to cover up.

What I write here I firmly believe is on the minds and in the hearts of everyone you might stop on the street and ask. I am willing to speak the words as someone who proudly represents all of Browns nation, as a Season Ticket holder and as a boy years ago who had heroes in orange helmets and brown jerseys named Brian Sipe, Dave Logan, Bernie Kosar and many others. But most importantly to me, as a Clevelander. Because the Browns and our great City are inseparable things to me. As the team goes, so the city goes.

First I want to say that I have absolutely no doubt whether you “get us” or whether you really care about what you’re doing as the General Manager of the Browns. You have enough years in the NFL to fully understand what national pride means. I have believed from Day 1 that you care deeply and that you understand Browns Fans very well. You seem like one of us, as someone with integrity and work ethic and empathy. Someone whose ego is not the very first thing you notice.

I also have no doubt that you value and revere history. Football history in particular. Something that this team has. And something that the fan base has gripped with an iron fist for decades, not just since 1999. Because what we have feels like PAST history, not RECENT history and much of our pride as a city is tied up in those past years, and not just pride measured in football.

History is a tricky thing. It traps you in failure and also in success. It allows people to say things that aren’t quite true about you, your city or your team because you can’t point to something more recent to counter that narrative. It creates click-bait talking heads who are so afraid of someone new having success that they feel they must be the voice of negativity and carry a narrative like that nationally in order to keep the new guy down and protect the establishment teams. It makes successful people do things, sometimes things like cheating, in order to KEEP WINNING. Their fear is the END of the winning. Our fear here, is the beginning of the winning.

We have suffered liars, fools, incompetents and down-right thieves in the front office. Thieves who didn’t just steal money by not doing the job, but they stole our hope and our confidence too. So many times and in so many ways that we have become numb and untrusting, two things that truly personify where we are as a fan base. Those liars and thieves know who they are, we don’t need to point them out. And we hate this crust that has come to envelop us, but became necessary over the years to survive the mockery that has been made of this once-proud franchise.

And so Mr. Dorsey, we find ourselves sitting here with you ready to dive into the 2019 Draft with more hope, more confidence and more fear than any of us have had in 20 years. You have done some things with this franchise that feel real, that feel legitimate and give us a pride and confidence that’s rather dangerous. Because if I am being honest, it all seems too good to be true. And that is me being trapped by history. Terrified to trust you and believe fully that we are NOT the same team or the same front office that we’ve been since 1999.

Because now that you’ve been here a while and done some transformational things, you have crossed a line. That line has not been crossed since 1999, not even close. That line represents the faith and the fear inside each of us as fans that we’ve now willingly, and perhaps grudgingly, placed in your hands. I want to share this photo with you. It is a simple thing, a representation of the hope and dreams of a fan base when their team (which was stolen from them) returned to the city in 1999. A relative of mine made this when the team came back, and she was kind enough to give it to me. If I am right it was the schedule from the newspaper, and it made me realize how excited we all were for the future of the reborn Browns.

If you were really reading this you might say hey, relax, take the journey with me and you will see. Well, we are going to do that. We always do here in Cleveland. We’ve been waiting for someone to restore our pride. And the rivalries within our division that we all miss. And frankly we want back our Sundays…I don’t want to cut grass or rake leaves because I dread what’s happening on the TV.

So what I am asking of you today, is simply to help us restore our HISTORY. Don’t look at this as a job, look at it as a career. Stay a while. Don’t be satisfied with winning some games in the Playoffs, maybe a Super Bowl and then on to the next challenge. There is more at stake here than that. You talk to Jim Brown probably every week. Ask him what it was that made HIS time with the team magical. Sure it was the winning and the national championships, maybe even being famous. But I would bet that he would say that making HISTORY with his team mates and for the City of Cleveland was what made it special. The satisfaction that comes from turning local pride into national pride in your team.

That is all I wanted to talk about. I’d wish you good luck in the Draft but you seem to be really good at that. So I will wish you luck, health and success for the 2019 season. We are all counting on you.

With thanks,

Browns Fans Everywhere