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Banner won’t say what Browns knew before trading for Bess


Browns CEO Joe Banner is declining to say whether the team knew the extent of Davone Bess’s off-field problems before trading for him last year.

A report that the Dolphins knew Bess had been involuntarily sent to a mental health facility and didn’t tell the Browns has raised eyebrows in Cleveland, but when Banner was asked about that report he declined to answer.

“We’ve been in contact and are trying to do everything we can to support and help Davone through the entire process,” Banner said, via “I don’t want to answer anything beyond what I just said.”

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam admitted that he did not know about Bess’s off-field issues.

“I personally did not [know] so I can’t answer that,” Haslam said.

The Browns cut Bess’s 2013 season short by placing him on the non-football illness list, but neither Bess nor the team has ever explained what illness he suffers from. Bess was arrested last week and accused of assaulting an officer, and doubts have been raised about whether he’ll ever play for the Browns again.

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49 Responses to “Banner won’t say what Browns knew before trading for Bess”
  1. The League's Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says: Jan 25, 2014 9:43 AM


  2. supermadelf says: Jan 25, 2014 9:45 AM

    Why is Fabio standing next to Banner? More importantly, why is Fabio so angry?

  3. lazrrocketarm says: Jan 25, 2014 9:48 AM

    Just sad. I hope the young man can recover from his issues.
    Hopefully for all the loyal Browns fans, Haslam will fix the teams issues as well.

    As a Colts fan, I appreciate all the success they have had
    over the last 15 years. Hope the Browns use the Richardson trade first rounder on the right player. Those fans in Cleveland deserve some good breaks.

  4. TheVet700level says: Jan 25, 2014 9:49 AM

    Joe Banner is the biggest weasel in the NFL (next to Goodell) not to mention hardheaded and arrogant. I truly feel sorry for the Browns fans. I wouldn’t believe a word the comes out of his mouth.

  5. officialgame says: Jan 25, 2014 9:49 AM

    Banner didn’t answer because he obviously didn’t do his homework on Bess. I do give him credit for fleecing the Colts out of a 1st round pick though.

  6. akatrain says: Jan 25, 2014 9:50 AM

    wether banner and dumbardo knew or not it was a huge sign of incompetence. especially since they signed him to a big fat new contract. if they knew don’t sign him to a new deal ,if they didn’t shame on them for not doing their job. banner and dumbardo must go if the browns are ever going to go upwards

  7. jpb12 says: Jan 25, 2014 9:50 AM

    Either bad faith by Ireland in Miami or poor decision by Banner/Lombardi not to tell the ‘boss’ in Cleveland.

    Either way someone has some ‘splainin to do’

  8. hjb99992013 says: Jan 25, 2014 9:53 AM

    Joe Banner sounds like Sargent Shultz

  9. johnnycantread says: Jan 25, 2014 9:56 AM

    Maybe they will make a TV show about this and call it “Banner Knows Bess”.

  10. chut26 says: Jan 25, 2014 10:01 AM

    Wonder if the Browns told Indy at how bad of a RB Richardson was before they fleeced them for a 1st rounder?

  11. cornersss says: Jan 25, 2014 10:05 AM

    I feel bad for Bess. Hes a good dude and this is so out of character for him.
    In fact ask any phin fan and Bess would have been one of the last people picked to melt down publicly like he did.

  12. dirkanger23 says: Jan 25, 2014 10:10 AM

    Banner, while he was in Philly, was great at fleecing playing during contract negotiations. Other than that? He was an arrogant, obnoxious, condescending tool who after years became a PR nightmare for the Eagles whenever he decided to step in front of a microphone.
    I was thrilled when he finally got the boot. Cleveland fans: I pity you guys. Don’t believe a word this guy ever says.

  13. dirkanger23 says: Jan 25, 2014 10:10 AM

    Fleecing players

  14. schmedley69 says: Jan 25, 2014 10:12 AM

    A background check would have cost money. Joe Bannerless is a penny pincher who has always values money more than winning. The Eagles were 10-time Salary Cap Champions, and 0-time Super Bowl Champions under Bannerless, and I’m sure that he is proud of that. Money > Winning.

  15. jlilly67 says: Jan 25, 2014 10:12 AM

    Cuckoo for cocoa puffs

  16. brownsclown says: Jan 25, 2014 10:14 AM

    The Bess deal is a prime example of how Bummer and Dumbturdi are ‘Moving the Needle Forward’!

  17. kwjsb says: Jan 25, 2014 10:16 AM

    “Banner won’t say what Browns knew before trading for Bess”

    He knew Lombardi knows nothing, and Banner trusts him implicitly.

  18. coop16 says: Jan 25, 2014 10:28 AM

    I’m constantly seeing hatred for Joe Banner on this site, and it seems a little misplaced. He was the salary cap guy in Philly, so keeping a tight rein on player salaries was his job. It’s a little like criticizing an assistant principal for disciplining kids. It’s in the job description, people.

    What matters now is how well he performs in his new role in Cleveland. So far it’s not looking great. He snookered Indy in the Richardson deal, but his first draft was a dud, he has admitted that the first coach he hired was a mistake, and he obviously made a bad deal when he traded for Bess. The team has extra draft picks in May and a new coach, so maybe by this fall the needle will be pointing upward for this beleaguered franchise. If it’s not, that might mean the end for Joe Banner. Another 4-12 season could be his death knell.

  19. mrlaloosh says: Jan 25, 2014 10:29 AM

    Mental illness is no joke. Apparently, even in Cleveland.

  20. citiciti says: Jan 25, 2014 10:39 AM

    Yea Mo!!

  21. jason8er says: Jan 25, 2014 10:39 AM

    News from Davie says that the Browns absolutely new about Bess. Banner’s refusal to answer that simple question is confirmation for me.

  22. dicerces says: Jan 25, 2014 10:42 AM

    Banner needs to be let go! He will lead this team into a deeper hole ask any Eagles fan ! As a Browns fan is attitude and answer only show his arrogance and incompetence Mr Haslam please open your eyes !

  23. dolphincritic says: Jan 25, 2014 10:43 AM

    Let’s lay this at the feet of Jeff Ireland. It is pretty obvious that the Browns got caught with their drawers down. Ireland moved a liability and obtained actual draft picks in the exchange. This proves that Ireland does not have the professional ethics required to be a GM, unless his boss told him to do it.

    Your next mission, Mr. Phelps, is to determine how many bosses Jeff Ireland had and which one told him to do it.

  24. blowfishes says: Jan 25, 2014 10:43 AM

    I hate the term Mental Health. It may be that Bess may be going through some depression, or simply has a chemical imbalance that can be corrected with the correct medicine. Mental illness can affect anyone at anytime, and it’s time that society started to try and better understand rather than condemn sufferers.

  25. gary2525 says: Jan 25, 2014 10:52 AM

    This is like third time Haslam said he didn’t know about something Banner or the pig Lombardi did. That shod tell u something about those too

  26. larryravor says: Jan 25, 2014 10:52 AM

    The Browns, their fans and the city of Cleveland deserve everything bad that is happening and will happen to them. They are a bunch of squirrels.
    They are being punished for their treatment of Mr. Modell.
    The Browns in a Super Bowl???? When hell freezez over

  27. thelastpieceofcheese says: Jan 25, 2014 11:10 AM

    The Paul Brown jinx!

  28. myworldurjuslivinit says: Jan 25, 2014 11:12 AM

    “Browns owner Jimmy Haslam admitted that he did not know about Bess’s off-field issues.” = all yes men in the organization…doomed for failure.

  29. brownsmakemecrazy says: Jan 25, 2014 11:26 AM

    No comment by Bozo Banner means 1.) they knew about it and made a stupid decision anyway and/or 2.) are ignorant and stupid for not doing their homework on Bess.

    Either way its a prime example of the complete incompetent management team of this joke of a franchise.

  30. dartwick says: Jan 25, 2014 11:34 AM

    Im fairky sure most of the screws up from the browns office are baners fault – mainly because im sure he would have fired Lombardy too if any of this could be blamed on him.

  31. thingamajig says: Jan 25, 2014 11:34 AM

    Looks like Banner is one of the few people in the world that have a bigger forehead than Peyton. I thought that equaled big brains but I guess not.

  32. timmons94 says: Jan 25, 2014 11:49 AM

    Browns fleeced Colts…
    so u take a 3rd overall pick and get a mid 20…yes, Colts shouldn’t of made trade. good for Browns to get something..
    But for crying out loud, u had a top 5 pick and as always THEY MISSED… Gerard Warren, Courtney Brown, The Soldier, Richardson….
    they really are a joke.

  33. chiadam says: Jan 25, 2014 12:09 PM

    Haslam also did not know about rebate scandals at his trucking company. Is there anything that happens within the companies he owns that he DOES know about?

  34. oldcracker says: Jan 25, 2014 12:13 PM

    Haslam didn’t know anything about the corporate-wide policy of ripping off truckers either. Haslam has no clue of running a business, he just was lucky and inherited it from his father.

    I thought that as “God” of all things football, Banner would know these things. After all, it was HE, not Andy Reid that made the Eagles what they were.

    And, of course, Dumbardi. Dumbardi is still running into the walls and looking for his office. Maybe Dumbardi should be wearing a football helmet just to protect his head from those walls.

    The “Bess Mess” falls on the 3 Stooges.

  35. oldcracker says: Jan 25, 2014 12:17 PM

    What really is upsetting is that NO ONE in that FO has the dignity or fortitude or cajones to accept ANY responsibility for anyting!

    I’m surprised they didn’t blame Farmer, Chud or Norv.

  36. donmcg2012 says: Jan 25, 2014 12:21 PM

    “”Joe Banner sounds like Sargent Shultz””

    And as clueless as Gomer Pyle.

  37. cspades99 says: Jan 25, 2014 12:44 PM

    When that story about withholding first dropped, the Dolphins were critiqued harshly (albeit fairly in the event it was true). So, now, the team that they supposedly hoodwinked gives a “no comment” which is likely an attempt to save face after they knowingly took the chance on Bess and all we get is a run down of the interview? Where’s the harsh critique of a team that seems to have knowingly taken a chance on a guy with ongoing mental health issues?

  38. thetooloftools says: Jan 25, 2014 2:25 PM

    The next time Banner holds himself accountable for anything will be the first time. He doesn’t own anything.

  39. ilovecostcobut says: Jan 25, 2014 2:32 PM

    Factory of Sadness, Chapter 492

  40. dalcow4 says: Jan 25, 2014 2:46 PM

    For all those crowing for marijuana legalization, this would be a good time to google ‘marijuana + psychosis’.

  41. thegreatjimmyk says: Jan 25, 2014 3:27 PM

    Question: “Mr. Haslam, were you made aware that your company was bilking it’s customers out of thousands of dollars in rebate promises?”
    JH: “No. I didn’t know.”
    Q: “Mr. Haslam, were you made aware that your team signed a player with some rather severe off the field issues?”
    JH: “No. I didn’t know.”
    Q: “Mr. Haslam, what exactly DO you know?”
    JH: “I don’t know.”
    I’d like to thank the other 31 owners for allowing Mr. Haslam the opportunity to bring his money to the NFL. It’s about all he brings.

  42. brownsprotonator says: Jan 25, 2014 3:31 PM

    Chud: um, joe….we don’t have anyone who can catch the ball this year, especially since you want to trade Gordon…
    Joe: wow…crap, you’re right. I’ll talk to Mike.

    Joe: Mike, I need you to find us a low level reciever in the next week. The season starts in 10 days, and remember we’re trading Gordon by next month after he gets back from suspension.
    Mike: I’m on it, I know just the guy. I’ll have him here by Monday. Any progress on the Richardson deal?
    Joe: yea. I think this drunk from Indy is going to give up his #1 for him.
    Mike: excellent. Let’s bring in McGahee as his replacement. I hear he up and walking again. Do you think the fans will be able to figure out that we’re throwing the season?
    Joe: Nah. We can always blame Chud if it doesn’t work out.
    Mike: Chud, yea. Let’s blame the Polish guy. Those fans are stupid.

  43. macbull says: Jan 25, 2014 3:32 PM

    As folks can see from the responses here, most know exactly what Joe Banner is about…but for some reason, Jimmy Haslam continues to let Banner run his football team.

    Is Jimmy Haslam nuts?

    On the day Banner left the Eagles (June 10, 2012), Banner told the press “he hopes to put together an investment group that can buy a struggling franchise, with partners who will allow him to run the team”.

    Interesting how Banner’s plan worked out just like he wanted. As a member of the Haslam investment group, did Banner put down money to buy the Browns, knowing it would give him the leverage he needed to insure he would be running the team for Haslam?

    Didn’t Haslam know that Banner had never been in charge of the football side of the Eagles? Didn’t Haslam know that putting Banner in charge of the football side of the Browns could blow up in his face?

    Well, Haslam knows all about Banner now….and Joe Banner still has his job, trying to run the football side of the Browns.

    Something isn’t right about this deal, going back to Banner telling the world what he was going to do, and it worked out exactly as Banner planned.

    There is not another team in the NFL that would hire Banner to run their team…yet Haslam hired Banner to run the football side of the Browns.

    Just a guess, but Banner, as a silent partner, may have put down a good portion of the billion dollar cost to purchase the Browns and is using that money as leverage to insure he would get the job he wanted.

    The NFL needs to look into the deal “the Haslam group” put together to buy the Browns…to find out if Banner is unofficially “a minority owner”, insuring himself of the job he always wanted.

    That would explain why Haslam refuses to fire Joe Banner.

  44. ytownjoe says: Jan 25, 2014 3:43 PM


  45. beachsidejames says: Jan 25, 2014 4:04 PM

    The so-called up and coming Farmer was there too. Its not like he couldn’t talk or something. Gotta do your own homework and stop blaming everyone for your mistakes. You gotta be pres. Obama to get away with that.

  46. civilwarfish says: Jan 25, 2014 4:09 PM

    Wasn’t Sgt. Schultz played bt John Banner? Family perhaps? Both know nooothingggg…

  47. pacodawg says: Jan 25, 2014 4:35 PM

    A mistake on a few late roud pick for a marginal posseession receiver is small potatoes compared to what Grigson did to the Colts. That may go down as one of the worst of all time.

  48. bpanz2012 says: Jan 26, 2014 11:04 AM

    Maybe he won’t say but I will. They didn’t know squat. Time for Jimmy to wakeup and remove Joe the Hobbit and his puppet Mike.

  49. mcmik54 says: Jan 26, 2014 3:11 PM

    Hmmm….seems like they made another mistake about a year ago that they just owned up to…If I recall, it had something to do with not hiring the right head coach…but my memory is foggy. Glad Banner has informed us that this is a different Browns organization. For a minute there I thought…

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