CLEVELAND, Ohio – Browns fans make up one of the NFL’s most enthusiastic and dedicated fanbases, with supporters around the country and the world.
Fans have watched the Browns win titles, but they have also seen them regularly be at the bottom of the league’s standings in recent years.
During the spring, we asked you to share your story of “Why I’m a Browns Fan.” More than 600 of you sent in submissions. Today, we’ll share another one of your stories as the NFL season enters Week 12.
The authors of these essays have one thing in common: Their love for the Browns. By the time we’re through, we plan to tell all your stories.
Today’s fan is Chris Hammond, who lives with his wife Jennifer in Lewisburg, Ohio. Hammond and his wife have a daughter named Mariah and a son named Silas. They are aged 10 and 7, respectively.
Who is he?
Hammond, 31, is a facilities manager at an electrical contractor. A native of the Dayton area, Hammond has been a Browns fan since he was a kid.
The Browns had moved to Baltimore as Hammond’s formative years rolled around, but while Cleveland didn’t regain its team until 1999, Hammond said he watched old highlights while the team was gone. Former linebacker D’Qwell Jackson was one of Hammond’s favorites, and he also liked watching Kellen Winslow Jr. and Braylon Edwards.
“Even late in the season in those garbage seasons, that dude was still laying it out on the field, every time,” Hammond said of Jackson. “And I love that.”
Browns and family
When Hammond was about 4, he said he remembers watching a Browns game with his stepfather, and from that point he fell in love with football. With his stepdad being a Browns fan, Hammond did the same. Hammond’s favorite color is orange, for the obvious reason.
Now, as an adult, Hammond has shared his love for the Browns with his wife and children. Last season around Christmas, his family surprised him with tickets to the Browns’ Week 16 home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“My son kind of let the cat out of the bag a few months (earlier),” Hammond said of the surprise. “He goes, ‘We got you Bengals-Browns tickets.’ And I said, ‘You did?’ He’s like ‘Yeah.’ And nobody else ever said anything, and the Cincinnati home game kind of came and went, and I’m like ‘Well, crap. I guess we’re not really going to a Browns game.’”
But then that next week, Hammond learned the family was going to Cleveland. It was what Hammond had always wanted, and his first NFL game proved to be as memorable as he had hoped.
“The atmosphere that Browns fans create with their fellow Browns fans, like we were surrounded by some really, really awesome, amazing people,” Hammond said. The family began the afternoon taking the wrong seats, but an usher eventually guided them to the right location.
“I was like, ‘Man, I’m sorry, first time. We were jazzed,’” Hammond said. “He was like ‘Hey man, it’s cool. I hope you have a great day.’”
Hammond and his family continued to have good experiences over the summer. Hammond took his family to the Browns’ training camp road trip in Indianapolis, where the team had joint practices with the Colts. The goal was to see if Hammond’s son, Silas, could meet quarterback Baker Mayfield.
“Because I really felt like if I could do that for my son and kind of get him to meet one of his heroes, so that he could learn like ‘Hey, if you want something, you can work hard to go get it, and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t,” Hammond said.
Hammond and his family didn’t meet Mayfield, but they did encounter strong safety Eric Murray as well as coach Freddie Kitchens.
Silas spotted Kitchens, and Hammond said his son held a football over a railing for Kitchens to sign. Kitchens was walking toward the sideline, but heard Silas’ pleas and walked back.
“Freddie came back over and signed the ball, tossed the ball to my son, and he caught it, and he said, ‘Hey good catch, man,’” Hammond said.
With supporting the Browns being a family affair, Hammond added that he’s appreciative of how he can show his children what hard work can produce.
“It means the world to me that I’m able to work hard and show my kids like, ‘Hey man, if you work hard, you can get wherever you want to go,’” Hammond said. “’Don’t let anybody ever tell you no, don’t let anybody ever tell you that you can’t, because nine times out of 10 they’re wrong.’”