New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam met the media on Friday, one day after completing his purchase of the team from Randy Lerner.
Haslam touched on various topics, from his business background to putting aside his ties to the Steelers, but one of the matters of most interest to the football world was what he’d say about the future of team president Mike Holmgren. While there wasn’t much chance Haslam would have laid out a plan to replace Holmgren on Friday, it was still going to be a closely parsed statement for those looking ahead to what Haslam’s ownership will mean for the franchise.
“I sense there is a strong feeling here that Mike and the team have things headed in the right direction,” Haslam said. “I think we have to listen, learn and observe. There’s no reason this can’t be a winning franchise. Everything is here. If they don’t, I’ll accept the blame. It’s our fault we didnt execute like we should. Every other piece is in place.”
Putting the finger on himself fit with other things Haslam had to say about being a visible owner, including possibly sitting in the stands for the first preseason game, and running a transparent franchise. Haslam also stressed that they would be making business decisions more quickly than football decisions, as evidenced by his plan to sell naming rights to Cleveland Browns Stadium.
As with all of these press conferences, things sounded pretty good and full of optimism about the future. Backing up those words with actions hasn’t always been so easy for NFL owners.