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Offbeat Browns want players to earn their helmet stripes

07:28  06 june  2018
07:28  06 june  2018 Source:   nbcsports.com

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First-year players don't have stripes on their helmets in practice. They must work for them, James Franklin says. But in practice, players stand out until they earn one. Franklin has wanted to do something like this since he got to Penn State in 2014.

It's a new era of Cleveland Browns football, complete with a new tradition for their newest players . According to the team's official Twitter account, it appears the Browns will now require their rookies to " earn their stripes " -- not just figuratively, but literally.

a close up of a football field © Getty Images

In a move reminiscent of college football’s helmet stickers, the Cleveland Browns are enacting a protocol for “earning” the stripes on their helmets.

According to the team’s website, head coach Hue Jackson intends on withholding the stripes atop players orange helmets until they’ve made the 53-man roster.

“There’s a certain way that the Cleveland Browns have to play and we’re going to earn our stripes,” Jackson said.

The Browns have been practicing without the stripes on their helmet this offseason.

Ohio State gives out buckeyes on their helmets to reward certain achievements. Arkansas has hog heads, Florida State has tomahawks and Clemson has paws. Temple reserves single digit numbers for team leaders and Nebraska issues black jerseys for their starting defensive members in practice.

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Penn State freshmen now have to earn their helmet stripes . Penn State has started the tradition of making new players earn the blue stripe down the middle of their helmets , coach James Franklin told reporters Wednesday.

The theme of “ earn your stripes ” is not unique to the Cleveland Browns . Removing any logo or decals from the helmet and forcing players to earn the right to wear them is a tactic which traces back to at least the More Browns Wire. Want the latest news and insights on your favorite team? Sign up.

While the Browns plan isn’t exactly the same thing as done by college teams, it serves as an achievement for players to “earn.”

It remains unclear just to what extent the practice will be employed. NFL uniform rules likely won’t allow the team to go without the stripes on their helmets during preseason games. Additionally, does it mean that players on the practice squad will practice without the stripes on their helmet until, or if, they get promoted to the active roster?

While the full implementation of the plan is still a bit unclear, the idea of using it as motivation is evident.

“The guys that put them on their helmets that get a chance to wear them, it’s going to be because they demonstrate the characteristics that we’re looking for in Cleveland Browns players,” Jackson said. “That’s the way we’re going to play and conduct ourselves and go out and win football games.”

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