Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam told the Cleveland PLain_Dealer that he plans on being involved in all the key decisions that his organization makes going forward.
“I want to assure everybody I’m more excited today about having the opportunity to own the Cleveland Browns — which is a very distinct and rare privilege — as I’ve ever been,” he said in a phone interview. “I still plan on being heavily involved in all key Browns decisions.”
Haslam says he’ll be heavily involved in free agency and training camp.
“My time in Cleveland is not going to change at all,” said Haslam, who has a home in Bratenahl with his wife, Dee, and was named to the Cleveland Clinic board of directors last week. “During the season we’re there a day or two a week and we’re there on weekends or wherever we’re playing. We’ll be very active and very visible during training camp and we’re obviously going to be there a lot during the free agency and draft periods which are obviously so important to the future of the Browns.
“We’re going to be there as much as we need to be to insure success. We feel great about the team we’ve put in place but we’re still going to be highly involved and I think you saw how much we were there from August to December. We’re going to have a big presence in Cleveland.”
Haslam stressed that he’ll still be one of the team’s four decision-makers, along with CEO Joe Banner, coach Rob Chudzinski, and Vice President-Player Personnel Mike Lombardi.
“I probably will not go to the [NFL] combine next week, but I wasn’t planning on going before this so that hasn’t changed anything,” he said. “We’ll have plenty of representatives there. I’ll be [in Cleveland] the day before the combine. We’re going to have an all-day meeting on our free-agent plans. Then I’ll be there after the combine to analyze it and finalize our free agent plans which I believe the key dates are March 12-16.
“The next really two and a half months, with free agency and the draft, are vitally important to the Cleveland Browns and we’re going to be heavily involved.”
I know most Browns fans are skeptical of the new Browns regime. I would be too if my favorite team has struggled for so long. But you have to remember Haslam recently owned a piece of the Steelers and was able to witness how to run an NFL franchise the right way. I’d give him some time and see what happens before jumping to conclusions.