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Haslam says Banner was an “unofficial” consultant

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As Jimmy Haslam finalizes a deal to buy the Browns, only a week after news of the deal between Haslam and Randy Lerner first broke, Haslam acknowledges that former Eagles president Joe Banner has had a role in the transaction.

“We did consult with several people on an unofficial basis, and one of them was [Banner],” Haslam tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.  “But we’re not going to comment on any potential hires at this time.”

There’s at least one good reason for discretion:  The league has yet to approve the sale.  Given, however, that Haslam already has been approved to own a double-digit piece of the Steelers and that (as we reported last week) the Lerner-Haslam deal was brokered at the league-office level, it would be a shock if at least 24 of the other owners don’t vote in favor of Haslam taking over the Browns.

Per Schefter, Haslam had dinner on Thursday night with team president Mike Holmgren.  On Friday, Haslam will meet coach Pat Shurmur and G.M. Tom Heckert.

“This is a critical time of year for the team and we don’t want to be a distraction,” Haslam said.  “The story after today needs to be about the Browns, not about the change in ownership.”

If, however, Holmgren’s contract contains a clause that allows him to leave with full pay after a change in ownership, Holmgren could decide that he wants out.  Or he could revise his deal to give himself the ability to pull the rip cord and cash out whenever he wants, like Bill Parcells did during his 30-day escape hatch after Stephen Ross bought the Dolphins from Wayne Huizenga.

Either way, change is coming to Cleveland — unless Haslam plans to be an absentee landlord, like Randy Lerner was.

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11 Responses to “Haslam says Banner was an “unofficial” consultant”
  1. oldcracker says: Aug 3, 2012 4:31 AM

    The Browns are in the 3rd year of Holmgren and we are just starting to see some improvement.

    If Haslam is smart, he should just let it be status quo, for at least this year. He should sit back, watch and listen to what H&H are doing. After the season is over, then share your thoughts and desires with Holmgren.

    The last thing the Browns fans need is to sit through another regime change, and another “rebuilding.”

    I can only pity Colt McCoy and wonder what’s going through his head about now! :)

  2. jh4prez says: Aug 3, 2012 4:47 AM

    Now wait a sec does this guy still own steelers stock or what?

  3. hulkhogansays says: Aug 3, 2012 6:18 AM

    The former owner was flabbergasted that Grandpa Weeden ended up as the future QB over a real superstar like RG3 and so he left the sinking ship brother. The funniest part is if Holmgren leaves, it’s an admission that he goofed big time by not giving the Rams what they wanted. The factory of sadness is under new management brother.

  4. mitchitized says: Aug 3, 2012 6:28 AM

    Here’s to hoping Haslam brings what he learned while part of the Steelers organization to Cleveland, and bringing the Browns/Steelers rivalry back to a respectable level.

    It’s no fun being a Steelers fan with the Browns in their current state. I’m pining for the day when I could care less if we made the playoffs, just as long as we beat the Browns :-)

    Also the City of Cleveland is a football-crazy town, it is really unthinkable that they don’t have a better team to cheer for. As hard as it is for me to say it, the Dawg Pound deserves better.

  5. farmdoy says: Aug 3, 2012 7:38 AM

    I can’t see someone that has had the chance to see how things are run in the NFL and how fast change can be just as bad as good comes in and gives the axe to the FO Ya he will bring in his staff (money peeps i would like to know where my 700 mill is being spent) and to tell ya the truth whith what they have set up this year unless they win less then 6 games i don’t see big changes in 2013 but after that ya he will put his stamp on the team

  6. farmdoy says: Aug 3, 2012 7:48 AM

    i say this for 2 reasons 1. he is comeing in at a time that the contracts are set and the roster is in place for the most part the prep for the next draft is well under way and they have a good idea who will be out there in FA after the season
    2. if it was me i would like to let the smoke clear and make a little bit of the 700 mill back before i sepnt another 500 mill on contract buy out and new deals

  7. macbull says: Aug 3, 2012 8:41 AM

    Hopefully Banner’s influence with the new owner will be “minimal”, going forward.

    While the Cleveland media, forever looking for someone to blame for the Browns record, since Holmgren took over as President of the Browns in 2010…they need to be honest with the readers about Banner.

    In June 7, 2012, Joe Banner was fired as the President of the Eagles by one of his best friends, the team’s owner, Jeffrey Lurie.

    The word from the Philadelphia media was Banner was locked in a power struggle with Andy Reid…and lost.

    Banner’s background is finance…he is a numbers guy who handled the Eagles salary cap and other business operations.

    Joe Banner’s experience in football is not in selecting player and coaching talent. Anyone wanting to look up Banner’s bio can do so and see that his expertise as a numbers guy is his claim to fame…not matters of draft selection or coaching hires.

    Joe Banner could be a plus for the Browns, working in the proper position on the business side of the franchise.

    Joe Banner, wanting to prove to the Eagles that he can do the job Andy Reid did in Philadelphia, could be the worst move the new owner makes.

    Banner’s ego needs to kept in check…

  8. tombrookshire says: Aug 3, 2012 8:56 AM

    Whereas Parcells was always looking for the exit, Holmgren has no such inclinations. He will likely be asked to step aside or take a reduced role that will effectively end his tenure. Banner would be a good move. Just keep him away from the press as he tends to be at the center of “misunderstandings” between the team management and fans.

  9. braven4evr says: Aug 3, 2012 9:14 AM

    if he operates the browns like he does his rest stops, the browns will get better real soon!

  10. rufustfireflyjr says: Aug 3, 2012 10:18 AM

    I don’t care what time of year it is, if Haslem thinks for one moment that his assuming ownership of the franchise won’t immediately eclipse everything else that’s going on with the Browns, he’s deluding himself.

  11. niles6590 says: Aug 3, 2012 10:34 AM

    @mitchitized…from a die-hard Browns fan to a die-hard Steelers fan: that is probably one of the most intelligent comments I’ve seen on this site. I’m like you…the game Metcalf ran back 2 kicks for touchdowns against the Steelers in the old stadium….that might as well have been the Super Bowl as far as I was concerned. I remember the excitement and hype in 94 (I think…) and in 02 when we met in the playoffs. I truly miss when Browns vs Steelers was traditionally a nationally televised game because they always meant something.
    As a far as the sale goes…one word: consistency. Think about it. Lerner Sr owned the team for 3 years and built it into a playoff team in 02. Who knows where the team would be if he hadn’t passed away? Then Jr took over when he died and it all fell apart. We’ve had front office changes, coaching and player changes…none of which made any difference at all. The only thing consistent in these down years has been the ownership. If blame is to fall anywhere, blame the one thing that has remained consistent since 02….the ownership. Now that is set to change. As a Browns fan, all I want is to be relevant to the playoff picture come December…that’s all. Please Lord…let today be the beginning of something special…let today be the beginning of the end of thoughts of The Drive and The Fumble….Red Right 88….and Tim Couch.

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