- Pat McManamon, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Cleveland Browns worked "around the clock" during the weekend in an effort to clear snow from First Energy Stadium prior to Sunday's game, team spokesman Zak Gilbert said Monday.
Gilbert said the team had more than 150 people working Saturday night in an effort to clear the five-to-eight inches of snow that fell Saturday. He spoke in response to criticism -- in Cleveland and on ESPN.com -- that when fans arrived to Sunday's game, many seats were covered with six-to-eight inches of snow that had been carried by the wind, with more packed under the seats. Some fans took to Twitter to post photos of their seats, which they had to clear off on their own.
"Aisles, ramps, plazas, steps and bridges were a priority, and we were able to clear those areas and create a safe environment," Gilbert wrote in an e-mail. "The timing and intensity of the storm prevented us from clearing every seat, unfortunately; some seats were cleared Saturday night, only to be covered Sunday morning."
Gilbert said several tons of snow were removed from the stadium prior to the game, and fans who called the team understood once the situation was explained.
The Cleveland area took a strong hit of snow overnight Friday and most of the day Saturday, with measurements from five-to-eight inches depending on the locale. Though it snowed some pregame, the brunt of the storm was over by Saturday evening.
Gilbert said the timing of the storm produced some "very unique circumstances."
7hJason Gibbs, Special to ESPN.com
8hJason Gibbs, Special to ESPN.com