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Browns to be announced as Hard Knocks team on Thursday

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The 49ers will not be showing up on HBO this year.

The San Francisco 49ers will not be taking part in Hard Knocks this season. The NFL is set to announce the Cleveland Browns as the team, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

This is not exactly a surprise. Shortly before the draft, a rumor circulated that the Browns were going to be the choice. Considering they just spent the No. 1 pick on a quarterback and expectations have grown at least a little bit for the team, they make sense for the training camp program. Add in Hue Jackson likely being on the hot seat, and I get it.

The 49ers would have made sense for Hard Knocks. The team finished off the season with a five-game win streak and has their new quarterback of the future in place. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have been very media-friendly thus far, and the team has plenty of interesting personalities for the program.

But alas, it will not happen. And fingers crossed, soon they might not be eligible for the show anytime in the near future. The league has had trouble in the past getting teams to volunteer, so they set up a few rules that allowed for exemptions. Here are the three exemptions to avoid mandatory inclusion:

1. They have a first-year head coach
2. They have a playoff berth in either of the past two seasons
3. They have appeared on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years

If the 49ers can make the playoffs this year, they will be ineligible in 2019. And the more they make the playoffs, the more they’ll be ineligible!