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Hue Jackson dealing with deaths of mother, brother

Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson has been dealing with more than just preparing his team for the upcoming season.

Jackson's brother, John Jackson Jr., died unexpectedly two weeks ago. His mother, Betty Lee, died Sunday due to an illness. She was 83.

Jackson has not mentioned the recent deaths when speaking to the media, but he released a statement Thursday.

"It's been a difficult period of time for me but everyone has to go through this in life," Jackson said, via the Browns' team site. "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."

"It's been really tough on him,'' his agent, John Thornton, told Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer. "He's just trying to let football help him out.''

Thornton noted that Jackson losing two family members so close together has "hit him hard." The tragedies have been especially difficult with Hard Knocks cameras all over the Browns building.

According to Thornton, focusing on his job has helped Jackson cope with the loss.

"The people closest to him know what's been going on, and they know he hasn't been himself," said Thornton. "Being busy with football has helped, but it's still been extremely difficult."

The head coach plans to travel to Los Angeles for his mother's funeral services next week after the Browns' preseason opener in New York against the Giants on Thursday night, Thornton said.

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