By Nick Shook
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Get out the swim trunks, water wings and sunscreen — Hue Jackson is going swimming.
A year ago, another 1-15 finish seemed outlandish for a Browns team that had just posted such a record. Surely, the only way this team could go was up. Jackson was so confident in this belief, he vowed to jump into Lake Erie if the team finished anywhere near 1-15 again.
The Browns are 0-15. Someone, grab Hue a towel.
The coach was asked about the promise on Wednesday and said he’d honor his word.
“Heck yeah,” Jackson said when asked if he’d jump into Lake Erie. “I have to.”
My weather forecasting sources tell me it’s very, very cold there, as in single-digit cold, enough to freeze the lake’s surface if it remains that frigid for long. It would probably be wise for Jackson to wait until the wind chill at least ascends above zero degrees Fahrenheit. It sounds like he’s taken that into account.
“How? You just jump in,” Jackson said with a laugh when asked how he’d jump into the Great Lake. “When? It is going to be at my convenience, and hopefully, I could get a lot of people to come out. It would be something that we are going to make special.”
Jackson didn’t mean special as in yes, the head coach of the Cleveland Browns wants to celebrate the special moment he confirms he’s only won one game in two seasons. He means special as in let’s make an event out of it, possibly raise some money for charity in the process and use it as a point to reinforce that he and his team never want to be at such a low point again.
“I don’t like it,” Jackson said. “I don’t like to do it for the reason I am having to do it, but I have to make do on my word. I just think that is what you do. I do get that. I made a statement. I have to back it up. That is the type of person I am, so that is what we have to do.”
In a stretch of ineptitude unbelievable even for the Browns, who have posted just two winning seasons since the franchise’s return to the NFL in 1999, seeing the team’s coach take a dip in a frigid lake would be the capper. With his job security recently ensured by owner Jimmy Haslam but rumblings that could change with an 0-16 finish, Jackson isn’t guaranteed to be around long enough to go for a swim. But if he is, expect the cameras to be rolling as the coach — hopefully in a wet suit, for his own safety — cleanses himself of a most forgettable season before turning the page to 2018.