When Tony had awoken the next morning he was still in Roy's body and hadn't traveled back to his original time.
He was shocked at the development and spent most of his morning thinking over the subject. The day itself wasn't worth even mentioning and as when he fell asleep that night, he woke up in his original body. He didn't do much and just studied for classes and went on with his life.
And shockingly nothing happened for six months. In both private and public life. No noteworthy trades or any arguments with staff about players. All the free agent transactions were accepted with little to no delay. Since they, the coaches, stayed out his business he stayed out of theirs. He did wish for them to do well but he didn't want to come off as hypocritical.
And if a 2-2 preseason meant anything, Tony was optimistic for the actual season. It had only been 1-3 in his own time.
While in his other life he spent the summer traveling the world with Katherine. They had technically been broken up but while in Rome Tony asked her out once more. Doesn't mean much given their situation but it was the sentiment that counted.
There were some nights he didn't think back to his life as a GM and woke up the next morning still in his original body.
After this occurring enough times, Tony connected that when he went to sleep if he thought about the other life he would wake up there and by effect the inverse was true.
Besides these points of information everything else in life boring. It was now for the season to start.
Tony sat around in the stadium not optimistic for the first game of the season. This was one of the worst blowouts ever at 43-0. He could only hope that the squad he drafted and worked to trade for would fair better and that wasn't something hard to do.
Most times GMs would sit up in the box to have the best environment for the game. Tony sat up there for the first few preseason games but found the place to not be what he was looking for. It felt like the executives up there knew next to nothing about football.
So he opted to sit in the stands with the fans, it may not be as elegant but the cheers and angry shouts were much his cup of tea.
He watched the ball soar through the air the rancorous cheers all around him. The environment clicked within him as he joined in. Like most kickoffs, it was a touchback and the ball started at the 20-yard line.
Kordell Steward lined up under center and this first play would tell volumes of the expectations for this season. Would this team of youngsters be able to compete, unlike their original predecessors?
With the play a go Tony watched as Bobby Shaw ran down the sideline the same Hines Ward had in Tony's timeline. It was a statement play, and as everyone watched Shaw jump into the air it flew over his head.
The crowd grew exponentially louder at the failed play, the two teams weren't without their history with one another, often called arch rivals. So the choice of them being the Browns' first opponents after the expansion was an easy made choice.
The second play was a basic run up the middle with a future Hall of Famer in Jerome Bettis, 6 yard gain.
Tony without thought knew the next play was a five WR stretch but would end up being a run up the middle with Steward. That was the play and it got the Steelers a first down.
Next play held confusion on the Steelers' side as Kordell audibled the play. It turned into an option read and Lonnie Marts read it off the confusion. Marts was one of the few veteran players on the team and his experience would be needed, he took advantage of the confusion and tackled Steward for only a gain of 2, 2 less than in Tony's life.
Nerves were on high alert as Tony watched Champ Bailey blitz off the off the left side. It was a full out sprint and it resulted in a sack and loss of 10.
Tony felt the blood rush in his body as he jumped his feet with the rest of the crowd. "BAILEY!" He bellowed and was echoed by the rest of the crowd.
Third and 18, five WR spread four-man rush. The ball was thrown right down the middle of the field. Caught by Shaw, a gain of 14.
It may seem like nothing but this was actually everything. This proved, to Tony, that nothing was set in stone. Be it the called plays or the outcomes, this was a different game. The Browns' fans weren't the downcast people he remembered them to be. Every one of them was standing on their feet their voices hoarse from shouts.
Even after having left, this community was in love with the team. This is why Tony loved football, not being a GM but football.
This was something money couldn't buy him, this was something that being in the booth wouldn't let him experience.
These rancorous shouts of fans and the eternal stench of beer. Maybe in five plays the shouts may vanish or the fans may mellow but for moments like this, he was standing there shouting with them.
With the ball punted and returned 10 yards by Glyn. It was now Cleveland's first time with the ball on their own 30-yard line. With Aaron under center, the whole crowd was tense. Lined up in a single back Aaron faked a handoff to Faulk and did a quick pass to Hines Ward, who pushed forward for a 12 yard gain.
Tony didn't contain his laugh at the fact of the situation, the same way Pittsburgh wanted to make a statement about going downfield for the first play Cleveland returned it by going to the player they traded away. His laugh was drowned out the jubilant shouts of the fans.
"Let's go Browns!" And just like that, a chant was spread through the stands, a smile etched on Tony's face.
Be back again next time.
More Privileged Chapters
Download the app and become a privileged reader today! Come take a sneak peek at our author's stockpiled chapters!Download
Please switch to the pop-up to complete the payment.
Complete daily missions to get rewards.Learn more about the rules
This's an experimental test for reading assistance in case.
We highly recommend you to enjoy the beauty of the original words.