This is the time of the professional football season abhorred by just about everyone except the players, coaches and team executives.
This is the one time of the season when everyone who is anyone disappears. Gets out of town. Shuts it down. Recharges the batteries.
It is the one time of the year they set aside to clear the mind and refocus on the upcoming season.
It is the calm, figuratively, before the storm. It is the silence before the bombast. It is the one time where all thoughts and talk of football take a vacation. Literally.
With the exception of perhaps a skeleton crew, Browns headquarters in Berea is silent. Unusually quiet. Eerily quiet.
And that's what frustrates fans. With the fans, there are no such things as vacations. They want their pro football 24/7 and 52 weeks a year. Their National Football League jones knows no boundaries.
They want their Browns news and they want it now.
The Indians stink. The Cavaliers are nothing more than a recent memory. The Gladiators . . . well, that's just arena football. Not the same thing.
And the Browns are coming off their best season since the return back in 1999. Optimism about the 2008 edition of this team permeates the air around Cleveland.
Last year at this time, the Indians were in the midst of making a serious run at the World Series. The Cavaliers were just coming down from the high that saw them reach the final round of the NBA playoffs. The Gladiators did not exist. And the Browns were coming off a 4-12 season.
At this time of the pro football season, less is not necessarily more. Doesn't stop NFL Live on ESPN. Doesn't stop CBSSports or Fox Sports or ProFootballTalk.com or Yahoo!. These guys go at it non-stop. If it's good enough for them, it should be good enough for everyone else.
Oh yeah. Almost forgot about the NFL Network. Those guys work all the time. They don't get vacations. Wall-to-wall professional football. Can't get enough of it. NFL Total Access rules.
Outside of that, nothing.
All the players, coaches and NFL executives might as well be off the planet.
Thompson took care of that in a hurry after Favre text-messaged him that the two needed to talk. What . . . phones don't work?
"Don't bother me., Doofus, I'm on vacation," Thompson basically texted back. "You know what a vacation is. You've been on one ever since you retired in March." OK, maybe not basically. But you got the impression nothing gets in the way of a man and his vacation.
No one, not even Favre, who apparently believes the world revolves around him, owns that privilege.
At least they've got a soap opera going on in Green Bay. Keeps the natives from becoming restless.
In Cleveland, the Derek Anderson/Brady Quinn argument rages on in fits and starts. Joe Jurevicius needs operation #84 on his knee. Andra Davis drops a few pounds. The depth at cornerback and running back resembles tissue paper?
Back-burner stuff right now as far as team poobahs are concerned.
Those items need to be addressed. Pronto. Can't wait for the opening of training camp in eight days.
Eight freakin' days!!!!! That's an eternity.
Where are Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel when you need them? There are too many holes in the day, too many holes in the week to fill. Must have knowledge now.
Why do they have to take a vacation now? Why do they have to take a vacation at all? Don't they know how important this is?
The NFL created Organized Training Activities and minicamps in order to fill in a couple of the seasonal gaps. Why not something else between minicamp and training camp? How difficult could that be?
There's got to be something.
Eight freakin' days.