BEREA, OHIO— Sashi Brown sat in front of the microphone with a look of relief on his face.
After a record-tying 14 selections, his first NFL Draft as Cleveland’s top decision-maker (re: Executive Vice President of Football Operations) was complete.
As it turns out, the process was quite draining.
“It’s pretty overwhelming when you’re leading a group of people who work so hard and a fan base that’s so passionate about it,” Brown said. “There’s no question there’s pressure in the job.”
Though said pressure was a bit for Brown to bare at times, he feels as though the weekend was successful, as Cleveland addressed holes at positions of need, stockpiled talent and set itself for future drafts.
“I think everybody has the sense that we are headed into a positive direction after a long off season and another difficult transition,” Brown said. “It has been a really a positive three days, a culmination of a lot of hard work.”
Now that the draft is done, Brown will have to deal with the critics-- those who will bash his moves and the direction of the Browns incessantly in the days to come.
He isn’t one to seek out the seething comments or any outside opinions for that matter.
If he is to cross criticism, however, Brown feels that only way to handle the harsh words is to put a winning product on the field.
“I’m tough enough to live up to the skepticism and fight through it,” Browns said. “I know that the only way that I’ll prove them wrong is not by being defensive but really proving it in our work.”
For nearly 20 years, Browns fans have watched new regimes come in and declare that their latest draft was the one to truly turn things around for the Browns.
Brown— along with VP of Player Personnel Andrew Berry and head coach Hue Jackson— is just as guilty as any for making said statements.
It doesn’t mean, however, that he doesn’t have any faith in them.
“I know I’ll do my best to make the smartest decisions for the organization,” Brown said. “I have an obligation to the fan base, to the people that work in this building, to our players, to our coaches and the city of Cleveland to turn this thing around.”
As he poured back some water to unwind after arguably one of the toughest weekends of his career in football front offices, Brown was asked if he’d heard about the negative stigma surrounding the Browns and the NFL Draft.
Quickly, Brown replied.
“I had not heard,” Brown said, before smiling and laughing, as the sarcasm dripped from his voice.
Of course, Brown knows what the league thinks of him and of the Browns, but feels too that he’ll be the one to laugh going forward.
In his estimation, following Cleveland’s 2016 NFL Draft haul, the league won’t be able to do so much longer.
“(There will) probably (be) a few less laughs after this weekend than there were going in,” Brown said. “I think there are brighter days ahead.”
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.