Who’s on the edge of their seats as Cleveland’s parade rolls through?
By Mike Stobe ESPN Staff • April 15, 2017 10:18:23AMThe Cleveland Cavaliers’ annual parade was a celebration of sports.
They celebrated the NBA championship.
They welcomed fans with a parade.
And they celebrated the life of one of their own.
But the celebration was interrupted by a tragedy that left the entire parade marooned for a full week, and some of its parade-goers stranded on a remote stretch of Ohio farmland.
The Cleveland Browns had already had some bad news to share when they took the field at halftime of the game against the Atlanta Falcons.
First-year head coach Hue Jackson had just given his first press conference as a head coach, but the news didn’t stop there.
Jackson said the Browns had lost a linebacker to a brain tumor and were looking for a new linebacker, which meant that, as of Monday, the team was on the verge of being without its two leading tacklers.
The news was devastating, and the Browns would be without a linebacker for two weeks.
In the wake of the news, Jackson said the team would be looking for replacements, including some veterans.
It was the second major loss of a prominent linebacker in the last two years, and it left the team in a difficult position: It had to find replacements for players who had been on the field for just over a week, but also had already lost key pieces.
And the loss of safety Jabaal Sheard could be just as important.
Sheard, who had just started playing this season, was one of the Browns’ best defenders, and he was among the first players off the field after the parade on Monday, and immediately after the news broke, he said he felt like his teammates had lost him.
Jackson’s first reaction to the news was to take a phone call from Sheard.
The first thing he said was, “What a sad day.”
Then he went into a detailed explanation of what had happened.
“We have a lot of pride in our team, and I know that,” Jackson said.
“We have two guys that are here.
We have a great locker room.
We are a team that has played very well.
But we lost one of our leaders.
We lost Jabaals biggest asset.
We will always be a tough team.
We want to come back and do it all over again, and hopefully get back on the court.”
There were a lot more words about Sheard than I could have wished for.
He was in his fifth NFL season.
He had played with the Steelers and Saints, the Cowboys and Seahawks, and in college at Kansas State.
He spent most of his career with the Denver Broncos, with whom he won two Super Bowls, and then went to the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent.
He also played for the Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints.
He has four Super Bowl rings.
He is the only active player with more than one NFL ring.
Sheard was born in Cleveland, but grew up in a family of Indians, including his father, the late Frank Sheard Jr., who was an assistant coach for the Browns from 1978 to 1990.
He and his family lived in nearby Columbus.
The Browns had a bye week in October, which is when many players usually begin preparing for the season, but Sheard’s family was scheduled to have a party on Friday, and as of about 2 p.m. that morning, the celebrations were off the rails.
The news came out of a press conference at halftime, and there were a few reporters in the stadium, waiting for news of what happened.
The Browns were already preparing to take the field on Saturday, so it was not an issue.
But at around 6:15 p.d. on Saturday afternoon, after the team had already taken the field, a reporter texted to say that Sheard had died of a heart attack, and that the team wanted to extend their condolences.
A few minutes later, Sheard texted to let his teammates know that he was gone, and said that he would like to thank them all.
A few minutes after that, Sheffard texted again to say he was dead, and called out to the rest of his teammates.
That was it.
She went silent for about 30 seconds.
And then, all at once, the entire team went silent.
As soon as the team took the court, the media was allowed to join the celebration.
It would be the first time that any reporter or photographer would be allowed to cover the parade.
There were about 30 media members, mostly reporters from CBSSports.com, ESPN.com and ESPN.
The team had been allowed to do this on their own, and they had to follow the rules.
When the team got to the court and started playing, they had just about everyone there, and Shefford had a large group of fans.
She was in full support of the team, so there was no room for dissent