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Hue Jackson: Win might be turning point for Browns

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Hue Jackson wants more of this feeling.

Coming off Saturday's emotional 20-17 win over the Chargers -- a victory that saved the Browns from a winless season -- Cleveland's head coach pointed to the triumph as a jumping-off point for the franchise.

"This might be the start of something really good for us," Jackson said Monday, per Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer.

Jackson has grown emotional more than once this season, but Saturday was different. Instead of facing the mounting pressure of going 0-16, the first-year Browns coach stood with his players in the afterglow of their first win.

Veteran tackle Joe Thomas was seen wiping tears from his eyes as the team shouted at Jackson: "We love you, coach!"

Barely able to speak, Jackson quietly pumped his fist, whispering to his charges: "I'm proud of you."

Asked if he saw Thomas, the consummate pro, shedding tears, Jackson acknowledged: "I cried like a baby with him, to be honest with you."

No shame in that. It was the first time in over a calendar year that the Browns and their fans -- often the subject of low-hanging snark and derision -- could celebrate.

With friends and former players scattered all over the league, Jackson said he had 89 messages waiting for him after the game, telling reporters: "I felt like I was becoming a head coach again."

A loss to the Steelers on Sunday would make this the ugliest season in Browns history, but one that comes with the hint of a silver lining: This time around, the entire organization believes in their head coach.

Instead of heading toward another top-to-bottom blow-up, the Browns are poised to dig into Year 2 of their rebuilding plan with a bushel of high draft picks and a leader in Jackson who has weathered this storm admirably.

It's a start. Where the Browns go from here will be fascinating to watch.

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