Privately, Browns G.M. Tom Heckert reportedly thinks he’ll be leaving Cleveland. Publicly, he’s making a pitch to stay.
“We all want to be here to see this thing through,” Heckert told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It’s untapped just how good this team can be, and we’re on our way. [CEO] Joe [Banner] is super-smart and I think he’ll see that.”
Seemingly, Heckert has an inside track with Banner, given that they spent nine years together in Philly. And Heckert is more than willing to tap into that relationship.
“I was with Joe for all five NFC Championship Games [with the Eagles],” Heckert said. “If we didn’t win the Super Bowl, we were upset. We think this can work. Now whether it happens, it remains to be seen.”
But here’s the thing. Banner doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who will welcome or appreciate an on-the-record effort by a guy to keep his job. Instead, the points that Heckert made should be made to Banner directly, at the appropriate time.
Also, it was an open secret in league circles that Banner’s Eagles were trying to nudge Heckert, who rose to the position of G.M. in Philly, out of the nest. After trying to get him hired by the Falcons, the Eagles eventually placed him with the Browns, in a lateral move.
Still, Heckert is doing what he can to make the case to stay. “I want to be here and I want to finish this thing,” said Heckert, who disputed the report that he has been calling around for other job opportunities since August. “I love our team. [Coach] Pat [Shurmur] will say the same thing. This may or may not be the most talented team around, but it’s probably the best team I’ve been around. We have a nice mixture of veterans and young guys. We have solid character guys that are also talented.”
For now, it remains unknown what Banner and the Browns and new owner Jimmy Haslam (pictured with Heckert) will do. Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer joined PFT Live on Wednesday to discuss the possibilities and to address other issues relating to the Browns.