Jimmy Haslam Addresses Media Upon Taking Ownership of Browns (Transcription)

After a unanimous vote by the NFL owners at a meeting this morning in Chicago, Jimmy Haslam formally took ownership of the Cleveland Browns.  This afternoon, Haslam held a press conference to discuss Cleveland, the football operations going forward, and Mike Holmgren’s future, among others.  Our own Brendan P transcribed his opening remarks:

What we’ve come to understand since August 3 when we were introduced in Berea, Ohio is that it’s made even more special by the fact that it’s the Cleveland Browns. I had always heard what a great football town and football area Cleveland is and Northeast Ohio is, but what we’ve experienced since August 3 has been nothing short of phenomenal.

This is truly one of the great iconic NFL brands. If you think back to Paul Brown, and then of course, arguably the greatest NFL player of all time, Jim Brown, it’s a very special place.

As we have said on numerous occasions, we are going to do everything we possibly can and work as hard as we possibly can to bring a winning team to the fans of Cleveland — whether they’re in Cleveland, Northeast Ohio, or one of the many Browns backers around the country. We’re going to work hard for them.

Somebody asked me the other night if I was excited to win the first game. I said of course we were, it’s a relief, but I was excited for the players and the coaches who work hard and put a lot of time in and candidly catch all the grief. But I was really most excited for our fans, as we left the stadium an hour or so after the game, there were still thousands of people around. And if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought we won the AFC Championship instead of winning our first game in 11 months.

It’s a great town, great football community. And we feel very privileged to now own the team. It’s really an asset of the community and we’re going to do everything we can to increase the value of that asset. And candidly, the way you do that is you put a winning team on the field.


Mike Holmgren – I’ll be honest, I had never met Mike until the evening of August 2nd. Of course, knew of him, knew the famous Super Bowl winning coach.

I’ve spent more time with Mike than anybody in the organization and he’s been kind enough to answer hundreds and hundreds of questions about the NFL and pro football. Mike has decided that with our becoming the owner, that his role would obviously change a lot. Mike was brought in to be the President, and I think, in a lot of ways, the de facto owner. With us coming in and taking a more active role, Mike has decided to, effective at the end of the year, to leave the Cleveland Browns and to retire. Mike will work very closely with us over the next three or four months to ensure that this transition goes as well as possible. Mike and I have had numerous long talks and I know that he has been, and still is, committed to doing everything he can to help make the Cleveland Browns a better football team.

We are going to bring in Joe Banner. Joe will be the CEO of the team, that will be effective on October 25th. Joe and Mike will work together over the next three, three and a half months until the end of the season, to transition in what I will call a seamless fashion, to do everything we can to bring a winner to the Cleveland Browns. You think about the experience that the two of them have, it’s probably over 50 years of experience in the NFL and I don’t think we could have two better people to help us turn this transition around.

This is the only personnel change we’re going to make until the end of the season. And I am not at all saying we’re going to make changes at the end of the season. But this is the only personnel change we’re going to make. And candidly, we thought with Mike deciding the role no longer fit him, we thought it was important to bring somebody in so that we do have a good transition so we’re able to hit the ground running after the end of the season.

  • NamedMyKidPrice

    I wanted to say, Way to make it look like it was Holmgrens decision. But it really may have been his decision. It just may be the biggest relief to anyone that Ol’ Jimmy is coming in to relieve him of his duties.

  • Believelander

    The best nugget was missed here: when asked about his thoughts on changing up stuff like uniforms and other marketing-related articles, Jimmy Haslam told Tony Grossi they’d be looking at everything “except the helmets”, which I think is a wonderful nod to our past and tradition. Now let’s see if he follows through on it – he’s only half kept his promise about not making changes until the end of the season.

  • Hopwin

    And now for the ceremonial picking-of-the-nits!
    Wow this is a rather damning statement:
    “And if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought we won the AFC Championship instead of winning our first game in 11 months.”

  • Harv 21

    “This is truly one of the great iconic NFL brands.”
    When you call the team a “brand” them prices are skyrocketing , babyyy!

    “Mike was brought in to be the President, and I think, in a lot of ways, the de facto owner.”
    Proof that Holmgren’s been totally frank with you about the realities on the ground. Either that or Randy hasn’t taken your calls since your deposit went into escrow last summer.

    “With us coming in and taking a more active role, Mike has decided to, effective at the end of the year, to leave the Cleveland Browns and to retire.”
    Holms to Haslam & son: “Well, once camp is over I like to tinker in this woodshop we set up and whenever Pat or Tom wants to ask something they might drop by. .. well, no, not recently but it ain’t like I locked the door … ok, you’re talking kinda fast, you know we bought some decaf for the cafeteria too? … Hey, hands off my stuff – it’s a whistle, put it down …Banner? Yeah I know’em, why? … You know what, this already don’t feel the same, cash me out. I got grandkids to see … well, ok, I’ll hang out here until it gets real cold and Banner can drop by if he really needs something, but you tell him not to touch anything here.”

  • Harv 21

    Today trying to step out of these who’s hired/fired details. If team success starts at the top these details will take care of themselves because the smart, rich Type-A dude is on it. And if Heck is fired and the replacement isn’t good, this owner will can him too rather than waiting for bad publicity to force him to take notice.

    Anticipating that after the Lerner lethargy we’ll soon be complaining that Haslam is a triple shot of espresso, too much. WFNY writers, buckle up: you’re about to have plenty to write about.

  • Natedawg86

    I can’t believe that he would change the unis or add cheerleaders, but I have been wrong before

  • deesh

    I’d be willing to bet that Haslem said “win” more in this press conference (or whatever) than Lerner ever said “Browns”

  • dwhit110

    New unis = money. It’s not just possible, it’s likely.

  • mgbode

    yep, we’ll add an extra piping stripe on the sleeves

  • humboldt

    “When you call the team a “brand” them prices are skyrocketing , babyyy!”

    Yet another reason why Green Bay-style public ownership remains the distant ideal…

  • HatchAttack

    Not only do the Browns need a change in uniforms and cheerleaders, but I think a change in the logo is much needed. They should go back to the Elf of old.

  • Grif_E

    I think it speaks most to the underestimation on Haslam’s part of what one hour after winning an AFC Championship would look like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Max-Forstag/706995181 Max Forstag

    Unless Dan Gilbert buys the team, it’s not even a possibility. Like mgbode said, an extra stripe on the sleeve would be the extent of a uniform ‘change.’

    A simple, sensible move would be to have us wear the brown uniform tops again, which we used to always wear at home. We’ve worn them once in the past year and half. What happened?

  • Hopwin

    When did grown men start referring to football jerseys as “tops”? This is the second time I’ve seen it. At least he said he won’t be changing those fancy “caps” they wear on the field.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1028050197 George Walter Laird III

    how about orange jersey,orange helmet,brown pants and shoes with white stripes?Cheerleaders really! in december in 20 below weather?

  • Depressed@Work

    hard nips!

  • Depressed@Work

    hard nips!

  • Old Coach

    NO ELF, Please!!!! That elf looked like a wuss. Let’s have some respect for tradition. Also, I would reject “cheerleaders”, it’s supposed to be a football game, not a hootchy, coochy, show like most NFL “cheerleaders” put on.