As promised, Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson paid the punishment for his team’s winless record in 2017.
Jackson jumped into Lake Erie on Friday, making good on a promise that he would do so if the Browns were unable to better their 1-15 record of 2016.
In what was termed a symbolic cleansing of the franchise, Jackson took the plunge just over five months after the Browns became the second team in history to finish 0-16.
“No more freaking losing!” said Jackson on Friday, per the Akron Beacon-Journal.
Jackson was joined by about 150 member of the organization, the newspaper reported. The event raised $30,000 for the Hue Jackson Foundation, which combats human trafficking in Northeast Ohio.
“Those people have been with me every day,” Jackson told reporters. “When you lose a game and you lose as many games as we have and you keep parking your car and walking into the building and have to see those faces each and every day, I carry them with me. I carry them and their families and this city with me contrary to what anybody believes. It’s on me. I wear it every day.
“So I just thank them for being a part of this because they didn’t have to do this. They didn’t have to come here and support this. I made the statement, and they said, ‘No, I want to do this,’ and I’m thankful.”
After Cleveland finished the 2016 with a 1-15 record, Jackson made his vowed on Jan. 2, 2017: He would jump into Lake Erie if the Browns went 1-15 again the following season.
Because he had a stent placed in his heart in 2014, Jackson’s doctors did not allow him to jump into the frigid water immediately after the 2017 season ended.
The plunge turned into a media event, partly fueled by the fact that the Browns will be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” training camp documentary series for the 2018 season.
“This is not something I do every day, but I made a statement, and I have to back it up,” Jackson told reporters. “I came here two years ago to win, and I’m going to win here. I truly believe that. But I think when you make statements, you’ve got to stand by them.”