Haslam’s first press conference started out with an introduction from Browns President Mike Holmgren. Holmgren started by saying this is a great day for the Cleveland Browns, he said it was a special day for him and the Browns organization. Without further a due Holmgren made the introduction and Jimmy Haslam took over the podium. Haslam made reference to the team he used to own part of without mentioning the team’s name. Haslam said his main focus is to bring a winning team back to Cleveland. Haslam said the very first time he ever met Randy Learner was on July second and he had nothing but praise for the Learner family.
Haslam said he would not make comments on personnel decisions because a couple of reason’s, first league rule, and secondly Randy Learner still owns the team. Haslam said he would not talk about any of the Browns players either. Haslam was asked if he thought he could turn the team around and he said because the past success of his business, he felt he could be successful turning the Browns into a winner. Haslam said he would spend enough time in Cleveland to do two things. One turn the Browns into a winner, two to become a part of the community.
Haslam talked about the Steelers way of doing things. And he also said he has the Browns way of doing things. He said he took his Steelers white off yesterday and put his Browns Colors on today. Jimmy Haslam said he will have to learn how to hate Art Rooney on Sunday’s he understands the rivalry… Haslam said he would be ppresent at the Browns stadium this Wednesday when the Browns hold practice there and he will be shaking the fans hands. He went on to say he doesn’t want to take the focus away from Pat Shumur or the team. Hopefuly, the Haslam’s will be a one day story and the focus goes back to the team.
Haslm said when a team picks a first-round draft pick, that pick needs to be an all pro player. He thinks Holmgren and Heckert have done a great job picking those type guys since he got here. Haslam said the first guy that called him after him and Learner shook hands was Robert Kraft. Kraft told him to come up there and he would tell him all he needs to know about being an N.F.L. owner. Haslam said these days it is a marketing world and he could sell naming rights to the stadium.
Haslam said there is no reason this team can’t be a winning franchise. If the Browns can’t win he would take the blame. When Haslam was asked the question if Joe Banner would be part of the team he refereed back to the NFL rules to avoid answering the question. Haslam said when him and Learner sat down they agreed on four things, Haslam and Learner agreed to keep those 4 things private except one. Not to move the Browns out of Cleveland is the one he could share. Haslam said moving the Browns was never an issue.
Since the talks started for Haslam to buy the browns he kept up to date about practice and signings by reading the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He went on to say Homgren would be glad when Haslam leaves because he has asked him all kinds of questions since coming to Cleveland. Haslam has 32 truck stops in Ohio and plans to build 4 more in the state next year,this way they could create jobs.
Haslam said he thinks there is a great belief that Mike Holmgren and his people have things going the right way with the Browns. Haslam said you measure success with wins and loses. So it will be easy to see if the team is heading in the right direction. Haslam said this team has a great tradition and he plans to reach out to former Browns players to keep them part of the tradition here in Cleveland.
It will be interesting to see what changes take place within the Browns organization once the league vote on the sale and make it completely official. Because of the rules in the N.F.L. and Randy Learners ask for privacy, Jimmy Haslam III couldn’t say much. This press conference was more of a hello I am Jimmy Haslam, and over there is my wife and my dad….We are very successful business people and we think we can turn the Browns into a winning franchise. He said he has a lot to learn and I’ll bet by the time the vote comes he will have learned a lot…..