Jackson mourns mother’s death
Coach Hue Jackson is leaning on his Browns family while mourning the deaths of his mother and brother.
Jackson’s mother Betty Lee Jackson and brother John Jr., recently died within a two-week span. Jackson’s 83-year-old mother passed away on Sunday in Los Angeles following a lengthy illness.
Jackson has been coping with the losses during training camp and intends to stay with the team through Thursday’s exhibition opener against the New York Giants. Jackson, who is in this third season with Cleveland, plans to leave for California following the game for his mother’s funeral.
He will rejoin the Browns for practice on Aug. 12. The team had pre-planned off days on Aug. 10-11.
In the meantime, Jackson said he has received support from players, fellow coaches and owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam.
“It’s been a difficult period of time for me, but everyone has to go through this in life,” Jackson said. “It’s not easy, but I always try to focus on the fond memories I’ve shared with the people I’ve lost and that helps get you through it. Dee, Jimmy, our players, coaches and really the entire organization have been so supportive and that helps. We’re a close-knit group, this is a family and I’m so appreciative of everyone’s support.”
Browns tight end coach Greg Season has known Jackson for years. They worked together at the University of Pacific and with the Cincinnati Bengals.
“He’s a tough-minded individual,” Seamon said Thursday between practice sessions. “It’s been an unusually tragic two weeks and it comes at a time when things are already very stressful. Hue does a great job compartmentalizing things. And when he has to be the head football coach in front of the team, he’s done that. And then when that’s over and he needs to address the family issues, he certainly has done that.
“His mother put up a long and courageous fight.”
Browns starting right guard Kevin Zeitler will miss several weeks of training camp because of a calf injury.
The 28-year-old Zeitler did not practice Thursday, one day after being hurt and walking off the field with a trainer.
Cleveland’s offensive line is in flux following the retirement of 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas.
Left guard Joel Bitonio, a second alternate for the Pro Bowl last season, has been moved to left tackle, where he is trying to block defensive end Myles Garrett in practice. Garrett was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2017.
“Myles is bringing it, and that’s the best look he can get every day,” Jackson said. “It’s really fun to see because Joel is not giving up anything. It’s a battle and he’s doing well.”