BEREA — Major renovations to the former Cleveland Browns Stadium will not begin until after the 2013 season, but fans should experience minor improvements to their game-day experience this fall.
Browns president Alec Scheiner announced a series of changes Monday that are designed to make trips to FirstEnergy Stadium a more pleasant experience than it has been since opening in 1999.
“If you don’t listen to your fans, you’re just taking their own experiences and forcing them into play,” said Scheiner, who previously served as the Dallas Cowboys’ senior vice president. “We reached out and spoke with many of them in order to learn what we could do better. We want them to have a voice.
“We know we have a lot of work to do. This is just the beginning.”
The most noticeable change is an overhaul of the Browns’ game presentation.
The Browns will have an on-field DJ spinning tunes before games, the music and scoreboard video selections will be updated, and player introductions will feature pyrotechnics and new video packages.
The team also hired a drumline to perform at each home game, and will “have a couple of surprises on Opening Day” that Scheiner didn’t want to reveal just yet. Cleveland hosts the Miami Dolphins in its regular-season opener Sept. 8.
“Jimmy (Haslam III, owner) and Joe (Banner, CEO) have talked a lot about fan experience — and all of this is about the fan experience,” he said. “We want to harness their energy and keep the passion.”
The Browns also want to alleviate the congestion at each entrance to the stadium, which has become an inconvenience as the NFL continues to increase its security standards.
Twenty turnstiles and 44 security screening lanes have been added, which Scheiner says will allow 4,000 more fans to enter the facility during any 15-minute period.
In order to assist with the process, the Browns have hired Contemporary Services Corporation — known for their bright yellow CSC Staff T-shirts — as their exclusive provider of crowd management services. Team spokesman Zak Gilbert confirmed that CSC has replaced Tenable Protective Services in the role.
Two other aspects of the stadium experience are part of NFL-mandated programs that go into effect immediately.
A cell tower for Verizon customers has been added as part of the company’s four-year, $1 billion contract to stream live NFL games. Additionally, Scheiner said AT&T has upgraded its onsite tower, which should provide vastly improved service for all cell phone customers.
Though the NFL strongly encouraged its teams to have complete wi-fi capabilities installed for this season, Scheiner said it is not in the team’s plans at this point.
The Browns ran four goal-line offensive drills — all with 50 seconds on the pretend game clock — and converted two of them for points.
Taking over on Cleveland’s 40-yard line, incumbent starting quarterback Brandon Weeden drove the first team for a game-winning, 43-yard field goal by Shayne Graham. Two completions to wide receiver Travis
Benjamin set up the score.
Backup Jason Campbell, working in the same situation, tossed a 36-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordan Norwood on third-and-10. Coach Rob Chudzinski also allowed kicker Brandon Bogotay to kick a 48-yard field goal, which he made.
The second scenario featured the Browns trailing by four points with no timeouts when taking over at their 38.
Weeden illegally called a timeout before being picked off by Chris Owens, while third-stringer Brian Hoyer was intercepted by Kent Richardson on a deflected pass at the goal line.
Nose tackle Phil Taylor (calf) took part in team drills for the first time at training camp since 2011. He missed all of last year’s preseason activities after tearing his left pectoral. Ishmaa’ily Kitchen served as his backup.
* Owens worked with the first-team defense, opposite top cornerback Joe Haden, while Johnson Bademosi manned one of the safety spots.
* Linebacker Craig Robertson intercepted Weeden on a sideline route, continuing his strong camp.
* Offensive coordinator Norv Turner scolded tight end Gary Barnidge on two occasions, but the sixth-year pro bounced back by hauling in an over-the-shoulder pass from Campbell.
* Guard Jason Pinkston complained to the officials that defensive linemen Jabaal Sheard and Paul Kruger were illegally luring him to false start.
Wide receiver Josh Gordon missed the majority of the 2½-hour practice after his patellar tendinitis flared up. Coach Rob Chudzinski was uncertain if the second-year pro will undergo an MRI, but said he wasn’t concerned about the injury.
Rookie safety Jamoris Slaughter (hamstring), running back Montario Hardesty (hamstring), safety Tashaun Gipson (shoulder), fullback Brock Bolen (calf), defensive end Desmond Bryant (back spasms), tackle Chris Faulk (knee), guard Oniel Cousins (ankle) and tackle Ryan Miller (concussion) did not practice.
Contract Brian Dulik at email@example.com.
MONDAY AT BROWNS CAMP
NEWS OF THE DAY: Wide receiver Josh Gordon, who is facing a two-game NFL suspension for failing an offseason drug test, sat out most of practice with patellar tendinitis. Coach Rob Chudzinski said Gordon’s knee flared up, prompting him to remove him from team drills, but did not know whether he will undergo an MRI.
CAMPER OF THE DAY: Wide receiver Greg Little continued his strong camp by hauling in a pair of touchdown passes from Brandon Weeden in the back of the end zone. After ending up on his knees after scoring during a goal-line drill, Little playfully acknowledged the crowd by bowing in their direction.
PLAY OF THE DAY: Running back Trent Richardson reversed direction in the backfield, cutting back around the left side of the line to score a 15-yard touchdown in the final 11-on-11 drill of the afternoon.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I dream about the day that I can run out of the tunnel for a home playoff game at Cleveland Browns Stadium.” — Tackle Joe Thomas.
POINT OF INTEREST: The Browns practiced in shorts, instead of the full uniforms they were slated to wear, as Chudzinski had a change of heart. One day earlier, the team wore full pads when it worked out in front of a record-setting crowd of 4,466 in Berea.
TODAY’S SCHEDULE: The Browns will not practice as their players are required to have an off-day at this point of training camp, per NFL rules.