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Haslam claims Browns aren’t dysfunctional, with a straight face


Browns owner Jimmy Haslam won’t have to worry about firing his next CEO, because he won’t be hiring another CEO.

Instead, coach Mike Pettine will have control over determining the game-day roster and utilizing the players, and G.M. Ray Farmer will be responsible for setting the table with the 53-man roster.

As a practical matter, that Haslam will be more involved, because he’s now essentially the CEO.  Haslam said he’s “used to” that type of a structure.

But Haslam then refused to answer questions about the current Pilot Flying J situation, even though he opened the door by talking about his past experiences in managing key employees, by holding them accountable.

Haslam bristled at questions regarding coaching candidates who didn’t seem to be interested in the coaching job that went to Mike Pettine, and Haslam sidestepped questions about Lombardi’s competency.  The owner repeatedly said the team isn’t dysfunctional, and he blamed the perception that the Browns are dysfunctional on the local media.

As to Banner’s exit, Haslam explained that Banner’s work was essentially complete, because he’d help set up the organizational structure.  A structure that ultimately left Banner without a job.

The structure also will result in Haslam being present more in Cleveland.  Which means he may end up spending less time at his so-called “first love” — the family-owned truck-stop company that still could result in Haslam experiencing his first federal indictment.

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87 Responses to “Haslam claims Browns aren’t dysfunctional, with a straight face”
  1. ravensrooster94 says: Feb 11, 2014 11:51 AM

    Jimmy Haslip has accomplished the impossible: he’s made Randy Lerner look like a competent owner.

  2. dickshotdogs says: Feb 11, 2014 11:51 AM

    Poor Josh Gordon.

  3. Youknowimright says: Feb 11, 2014 11:52 AM

    Haslam puts the fun in dysfunctional. Pettine deserves better.

  4. russellwilsonismymvp says: Feb 11, 2014 11:54 AM

    Browns still have more talent than the Vikings…there is that.

  5. hawkforlife says: Feb 11, 2014 11:55 AM

    It makes you wonder how he and owners like Jones and Synder, etc., actually made enough money to buy a team.

  6. jeffesky says: Feb 11, 2014 11:56 AM

    Wow this guy owns the Browns. This show hasn’t even started yet , just wait on this Flying J deal its gona be heavy. The man has got issues that make Jerry Jones look like Mickey Mouse.

  7. nyyjetsknicks says: Feb 11, 2014 11:56 AM

    What’s Drew Carey doing these days? He might be the only person who would want a job with the Browns.

  8. DrSteveBrule says: Feb 11, 2014 11:56 AM

    Should have just asked Holmgren to coach the team. I feel bad for Browns fans.

  9. flushdownmikebrown says: Feb 11, 2014 12:01 PM

    But Browns fans…. keep spending all of your efforts to prove your loyalty….. good idea

    Stop buying tickets!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. thetooloftools says: Feb 11, 2014 12:02 PM

    Jimmy Haslam runs the Browns untethered to reality.

  11. accipiterq says: Feb 11, 2014 12:02 PM

    I posted this in an earlier browns post today:

    ‘”Alright, here’s what I don’t understand. The firing of Chud was and still is indefensible. That falls on the CEO & GM. But did Haslam have no clue this was going to happen? He HAD to know what the plan was, and approve it.

    The firings today would indicate that he doesn’t like the reputation the franchise is garnering, but what did he think would happen when they fired a popular coach who practically worked miracles with the pile of slop he had for a team? If anything it seems like Haslam’s throwing the front office under the bus for something that he likely approved. I’m not saying it’s a bad move to can the GM/CEO, their firing of Chud was ridiculous, and they continued to run the team into the ground. But the Haslam should be looking in the mirror on this one as well, he was a party to those actions, and almost certainly approved it. What a disaster of a franchise.”

    But it was actually HASLAM who fired Chud?? What on Earth is going on here…Why would you fire the ceo/gm then?? I’m not saying they were great, but the worst decisions the franchise is making are coming from Haslam himself…

  12. jroerigjeromechristopher says: Feb 11, 2014 12:04 PM

    Cleveland fans have been begging for Haslam to get rid of Banner and Lombardi before they were even hired. There were numerous reports that Lombardi was personally responsible for some of their head coaching candidates not being interested in the job. Haslam is NOT an idiot. It is obvious, now that he probably had this in mind all along. Farmer didn’t turn down a GM promotion with another team, out of pure love for the Browns. When he was quoted talking about historic change at the Browns, apparently he knew what he was talking about. Now is the right time to make these changes. Let the new regime draft the players, and hire the free agents they want moving forward. Ultimately Haslam is about results and people being responsible for results. He is the owner; he admitted his mistakes by removing Banner and Lombardi, and now he is giving control to a new regime. I personally like this leaner management. Count on potential free agents liking it more, also. Go Browns.

  13. tavisteelersfan says: Feb 11, 2014 12:07 PM

    I don’t know about Jones and Snyder, but it appears Haslam stole his (with the usual qualifier that he is innocent until proven guilty).

  14. JackedUpSports says: Feb 11, 2014 12:07 PM

    and i’m joe montana

  15. buddysguys says: Feb 11, 2014 12:07 PM

    3 coaches 3 Gms in 400 days.

    You are beyond Dysfunctional.

  16. 23rdusernameused says: Feb 11, 2014 12:08 PM

    LOL’ing, I mean literally laughing at loud, at that clown, Haslam!
    well if nothing else Browns fans, at least joe Bummer and Dumbardi are GONERS!

  17. camdenyard says: Feb 11, 2014 12:09 PM

    No, this is just how football teams are managed in Ohio. That’s all!

  18. jimmyt says: Feb 11, 2014 12:10 PM

    Just trade those two first rounders (and more) to the Rams to move up for J. Football and get it over with. Ah, the RGIII trade….the gift that keeps on giving.

  19. ez4u2sa says: Feb 11, 2014 12:10 PM

    Sad to say but this arrangement means the Browns are doomed to years of mediocrity at best. The last thing the NFL needs is another meddling owner. If the owner gets involved, you get..the Cowboys, a franchise going nowhere. If the owner leave things to the football people you can get a team like the Patriots who have now made he postseason how many years in a row?

  20. getyourownname says: Feb 11, 2014 12:11 PM

    “It makes you wonder how he and owners like Jones and Synder, etc., actually made enough money to buy a team.”

    Well, in Snyder’s case, he just scammed everyone with slick marketing, weaselly conduct, and occasionally illegal actions for good measure – what they used to call “smoke and mirrors.”

    Maybe that will prove to be the case with Haslam, too, although at least he ran an actual operating company that provided a useful, tangible product.

  21. magbastard says: Feb 11, 2014 12:12 PM

    Most fortunes are inherited or stolen. Haslam got it both ways.

  22. raiderufan says: Feb 11, 2014 12:12 PM

    The saddest part of this whole thing is that the Browns actually have a good bit of talent on that roster

  23. pioniere says: Feb 11, 2014 12:12 PM

    I lost a ton of respect for Pettine when he took that job. I thought he was smarter than that. The season hasn’t even started yet and he’s already a lame-duck coach. What a joke.

  24. chc4 says: Feb 11, 2014 12:13 PM

    hawkforlife — Probably b/c he’s really smart and is used to doing everything himself, not relying on others. That would explain him wiping out the org structure and making himself CEO. Doesn’t mean it will be the right decision for the Browns but it obviously worked at Pilot. Though you probably despise him for being successful. That seems to be prevalent in society today… demonizing those achieve more than most.

  25. jaxbeachjagfan says: Feb 11, 2014 12:15 PM

    “It makes you wonder how he and owners like Jones and Synder, etc., actually made enough money to buy a team.”

    It’s not as hard as it looks when your rich family gives you one hell of a headstart.

  26. kingpel says: Feb 11, 2014 12:16 PM

    They could be in a lot worse shape. The stooges did manage to trade Trent Richardson for an extra number one.

  27. 80sbroncofan says: Feb 11, 2014 12:16 PM

    Its not the fact that he fired Lombardi and Banner. Its the fact that Lombardi never should have been hired in the first place. Because he was hired and fired within a year the last off season, the season, and so far this entire off season has been a waste.

  28. sbchampsagain says: Feb 11, 2014 12:20 PM

    Chud will be Bellichick 2.0.
    I can almost guarantee that guy will go on to bigger, better things his next go-around.

  29. mrfrostyj says: Feb 11, 2014 12:21 PM

    Big picture is this.

    The Browns had 6 pro bowlers this year, all except for one were drafted by former GM Tom Heckart

    That is the same Tom Heckart who’s Denver Broncos played in the Super Bowl this year.

    Also the same Tom Heckart who was fired so that Banner could bring in Mike Lombardi who in his first draft pretty much chose to trade away everything and bring in nothing new.

    This is the same Joe Banner who screwed up not one but two consecutive head coaching searches.

    I guess my question is why is anyone questioning these guys getting fired? If someone offers me a lobster dinner and then takes me to Long John Silvers not once but twice I’m pretty convinced it’s not ever coming after that.

  30. theageofquarrel says: Feb 11, 2014 12:22 PM

    Now try saying you’re a Browns fan with a straight face

  31. mrone50 says: Feb 11, 2014 12:23 PM

    The factory of sadness grows stronger

  32. ajgreenhof says: Feb 11, 2014 12:23 PM

    I actually thought a new owner couldn’t be anything but positive for the Browns. How could it get much worse you know?

    Man was I wrong.

  33. coltzfan166 says: Feb 11, 2014 12:26 PM

    The non Browns fans have been given another reason to continue to make fun of the Browns (because it is fun), but honestly Browns fans should be happy about the moves today. Banner and Lombardi had to go. The end.

  34. xman05 says: Feb 11, 2014 12:26 PM

    Banner and Lombardi out.

    Not dysfunctional anymore.

  35. restorativejusticeprogram says: Feb 11, 2014 12:29 PM

    Dumb Criminal of the Week Award: Jimmy Haslam.

  36. ronarch13 says: Feb 11, 2014 12:29 PM

    Um, the Haslam Banner marriage was destined to end in divorce. The NFL league office made it happen and I am so happy Jimmy did this before WASTING ANOTHER YEAR. No one likes BANNER and/or Lombardi, here in Cleveland or in Philly. I knew this would happen but thought it would be after this next year.
    Jimmy is learning how to be an owner, sometimes it seems off the wall, but none of it will matter till we have a REAL QB. Hoyer is ok, but I am not sold he can make it a year.

  37. macbull says: Feb 11, 2014 12:29 PM

    As of the moment the question was asked…if the Browns are dysfunctional…as of that moment, Banner and Lombardi had been fired and Ray Farmer hired to replace both of them.

    I would not call that dysfunctional…I would call that a team just beginning to function as a real NFL franchise…no longer toxic or radioactive.

    Haslam just cut out a huge cancer the franchise had been operating with for the last two years. Not too many CEOs get a second chance at costing their owner 10 to 20 million in coaching salaries for Chud, Norv Turner and Ray Horton.

    Banner did himself in…he could not change who he was…a bean counter pretending to know football.

  38. tavisteelersfan says: Feb 11, 2014 12:30 PM

    What do you think the Banner/Lombardi/Farmer/Chuszinkski team cost per year?
    How about Farmer/Pettine.

    Those legal bills are mounting.

  39. sandypar77 says: Feb 11, 2014 12:33 PM

    Maybe Kevin Costner is available to be the GM?

  40. fdugrad says: Feb 11, 2014 12:38 PM

    So, ignoring continual ACTIONS as well as RESULTS to the contrary, Haslam maintains his organizations in business AND sport, of which HE is the TOP officer are NOT dysfunctional. Now THAT’s the kind of perception and judgement that will carry The Browns to the top of the mountain!! Take care Hawks, The Brownies are nipping on your heels ALREADY!

  41. harv44 says: Feb 11, 2014 12:42 PM

    He’s made Art Modell look like a good owner.

  42. naes says: Feb 11, 2014 12:45 PM

    With Haslam as CEO, Browns fans should be careful if they offer a rebate on ticket sales.

  43. 21stnprime says: Feb 11, 2014 12:46 PM

    He is a rich billionaire ex Steelers minority owner who looks like he is having fun sabotaging the Browns

  44. 21stnprime says: Feb 11, 2014 12:47 PM

    Circus aside, I don’t doubt the ability of Pettine and Farmer if given the chance to do their job. Same couldve been said for Chud

  45. bullcharger says: Feb 11, 2014 12:47 PM

    How can he say they are functional but still think they should completely overhaul the leadership structure.

    The Browns put the dys in dysfunctional.

  46. ochospantalones says: Feb 11, 2014 12:47 PM

    The entire city of Philadelphia is laughing hysterically right now. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  47. kcflake says: Feb 11, 2014 12:48 PM

    Some people just have no business owning sports teams. (See Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones)

  48. bnwpnw says: Feb 11, 2014 12:53 PM

    If the NFL has a Broken Arrow policy for rogue / crazy owners, it’s about to invoke it.

  49. cowpiesnotcowboys says: Feb 11, 2014 12:57 PM

    Compared to the Cowboys, the Browns aren’t dysfunctional.

  50. nflpropickemking says: Feb 11, 2014 12:58 PM

    This guy will Tinker as long as wants.After all he does own the team.

  51. mshawn75 says: Feb 11, 2014 12:59 PM

    Funny how no one talks about part of this mess is left-over residue from Mike Holmgren.

  52. therealraider says: Feb 11, 2014 1:00 PM

    As a Raider fan I didn’t know it could be worse.

  53. civilwarfish says: Feb 11, 2014 1:02 PM

    I think Jimmy is sly. The Browns arent as dysfunctional as the media makes them out to be and nowhere near as bad as we, the uneducated but “all-knowing” armchair GMs might believe.

    I for one am going to withhold condemnation until the next season plays out.

    Last season was a disaster and should have gone differently. Perhaps Chud, who I liked, was a problem. We will see soon enough if Haslam is a fox or a flop.

  54. mikej66 says: Feb 11, 2014 1:09 PM

    This is the same way the Steelers are structured (GM and coach report to owner). Haslam used to own a piece of the Steelers. Why the hell didn’t he set things up like this to begin with?!

  55. bryce57 says: Feb 11, 2014 1:15 PM

    The Browns are not Dysfunctional Signed Jeffery Dalmer, Bill Gacey, OJ Simpson, Dennis Roddman and a Cleveland Browns Fan that feels he is dysfunctional for Buying Season Tickets and watching this diaboloical situation.

    That said I agree with getting rid of Lombardi and Banner but Haslam should have done before he hired Pettine so Ray Farmer could have hired his own coach. Another change at coaches soon.

  56. godofwine330 says: Feb 11, 2014 1:18 PM

    Farmer is saying all of the right things. They didn’t call him a rising star for no reason. haslem had no idea when he got started. He hired someone he thought would do the job and they didn’t. He blew it up and started once he obtained a greater knowledge of what was needed. I wish him luck at making my team watchable.

  57. pmars64 says: Feb 11, 2014 1:18 PM

    As a Browns fan, this makes them look even more ridiculous – on the surface. But, let’s be honest. Holmgren delivered Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden and he should have been fired. Banner lost out on Chip Kelly because of his ego and how many coaches didn’t want to come to Cleveland because of he wanted complete control over the roster. A businessman with virtually no personnel experience should not have final say over any roster, even in pop warner leagues. And Banner was forced onto Haslam by the NFL as a condition of his approval as new Browns owner.

    I have no illusions that Haslam is anything but an odious guy that leaves a greasy trail wherever he walks, but I don’t expect NFL owners to be running soup kitchens as their primary gig either. And I do think Haslam did the right thing. He heard an earful about how toxic Banner/Lombardi were and he acted swiftly to get rid of the root cause. Plus, they embarrassed him publicly and no owner will tolerate that.

    I don’t know if Farmer will succeed or not, but I do think it’s a step in the right direction.

  58. theaxe2 says: Feb 11, 2014 1:28 PM

    Just ask Jeff Lurie about his ex best friend. That’s the only reason Banner lasted as long as he did in Philadelphia.

  59. bigbadra says: Feb 11, 2014 1:29 PM

    Brilliant move. This time next year after he fires his coach, he’ll be able to say he reduced turnover by over 66% from the previous year. A model of stability.

  60. Deb says: Feb 11, 2014 1:34 PM

    Every dramatic turn in Cleveland is a reminder of the evil that’s trickled down from Bob Irsay’s midnight run from Baltimore so many years ago. Though I’m a Steelers fan, it’s still heartbreaking to see what’s happened to a historic franchise forced to trade the veteran organization that became the Ravens for an expansion team that’s never gotten on its feet.

    New owners commonly take a year to get a handle on the organization before restructuring. Maybe last year was Haslam’s learning curve. As mikej66 posted, the Browns are now set up more like the Steelers. If Haslam has the football sense of the Rooneys, maybe the team will finally turn the corner. I hope so. These fans have suffered enough.

  61. dolphins4 says: Feb 11, 2014 1:38 PM

    The Browns are officially the worst NFL franchise by far.

  62. bullpuppy552 says: Feb 11, 2014 1:48 PM

    Don’t worry, in another year, the Clowns errr Browns will be firing everyone again.

  63. purpleguy says: Feb 11, 2014 1:59 PM

    I guess Browns fans really didn’t like Banner and Lombardi.

  64. sdiegosteel says: Feb 11, 2014 2:37 PM

    Hey, Mike Pettine, Ray Farmer, and Barkevious Mingo: rent, don’t buy. And see if you can get the six month lease – – just in case.

  65. pondbridge says: Feb 11, 2014 2:41 PM

    Haslam just fired the coach of the US women’s Olympic curling team.

  66. slobberknocker says: Feb 11, 2014 2:45 PM

    You’re about to see what ” hold accountable” means.


    The Federal Government

  67. bobnelsonjr says: Feb 11, 2014 2:47 PM

    They are becoming the Minnesota vikings of the AFC.

  68. rugbyisbetter says: Feb 11, 2014 3:07 PM

    From the outside this is pretty funny. Fans on these boards have been saying ‘Fire Banner and Lombardi!’. Now that they are fired its like ‘Look how ridiculous Haslam is for firing them!’

    Farmer must not be bad if the Dolphins wanted him and if the browns wanted him more than Banner and Lombardi (grant it, not two of the most recently successful franchises)..

    But the flip side is new GM, new coach, high in the draft, mediocre division, and had 6 pro-bowlers..

    Not a Browns fan..

  69. braczey29 says: Feb 11, 2014 3:08 PM

    I live here, some how they are more of a joke than the Bengals were where I grew up in the 90’s. Congrats Cleveland.

  70. oldcracker says: Feb 11, 2014 3:09 PM

    The proof of the pudding…..

    If nothing else, I believe that with Ray Farmer as the GM, and Pettin as the HC, there will be a new attitude in the locker room.

    We’ll see.

  71. rcali says: Feb 11, 2014 3:29 PM

    Just remember browns fans when those season ticket bills show up in your mail, there’s always next year.

  72. uglydingo says: Feb 11, 2014 3:33 PM

    Jimmy’s a billionaire trainwreck churning through CEOs, GMs and Head Coaches. The moment that Pettine and Farmer make a decision he doesn’t like, they will be gone.
    With the senior executives of Pilot Flying J truck stop chain working with the IRS, Jimmy is looking at possible jail time.
    Maybe the relative who is given the Browns when Jimmy’s incarcerated will do better than Jimmy. Couldn’t do any worse..

  73. polamalurulz43 says: Feb 11, 2014 3:52 PM

    Donald Trump just read his PFT update, spit his Perrier out all over his 4S, fired Haslam, and hired Usher, Maroon 5 and Miley as minority owners, as a tip of the cap to the ever stable Fins and their ownership. Pettite is already looking for a college gig, whilst Trump guns for Saban to solve the myriad of riddles inside the Factory of Sadness. You’re fired!

  74. mvp43 says: Feb 11, 2014 4:06 PM

    We are Farmer….. bum bum bum bum bum bum bum .

  75. floriosbigtoe says: Feb 11, 2014 4:45 PM

    All of this just takes away from what’s really important. Haslam should be going to jail soon. The guy is a snake and couldn’t be a worse person. He cheated customers and then sold out his employees that carried out the plan by claiming he didn’t know what was going on. If you believe a guy that was involved as he was had no clue what was going on to make his profits higher you are completely clueless.

  76. jgedgar70 says: Feb 11, 2014 5:25 PM

    Haslam’s gotta be on crack. No other explanation makes sense.

  77. 1historian says: Feb 11, 2014 5:38 PM

    “How to Build a Successful Franchise”

    by Robert Kraft

    Chapter 1 – Hire the right GM.

    Chapter 2 – Sign the checks.

    Chapter 3 – Get out of the way.

    The End.

  78. brownsmakemecrazy says: Feb 11, 2014 6:21 PM

    First and foremost, i applaud this move firing Bozo Banner and Dumbo Lombardi. Thank goodness they cant butcher another draft. They were both extremely stupid and incompetent.

    Next, Farmer will be judged by this years draft. Im not going to judge this guy good or bad until i see his decisions. Im not saying this guy is going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    On to Haslem, Jimmy let me give you some PR advice, when you get defensive about the dysfunction of the organization that you own, the more agitated you get the more it proves their point. You should have said, i can appreciate how people would say that based on the recent changes, however, i wanted to fix a situation, that i felt needed changed, based on the results on the field. End of story and shut up. And when they ask you again, you say i am trying to fix it. Shut up. Making faces and getting visibly rattled, it proves you are dysfunctional.

    The fact is you are a dysfunctional organization, until things change ON THE FIELD!

  79. ojdiddoit says: Feb 11, 2014 6:28 PM


  80. camdenyard says: Feb 11, 2014 6:28 PM

    Dysfunctional? I mean, the guy runs a company called “Pilot Flying J”. What do you expect?

    He’s a perfect fit for the Clowns.

  81. brownsmakemecrazy says: Feb 11, 2014 6:32 PM

    Continued…. Next PR lesson Jimmy. TELL THE TRUTH AND BE HONEST. if dumbo and Bozo, were so good you wouldnt have fired them. Stop lieing to peoples faces, and saying how good of a job they did. If they did such a good job, you wouldnt have fired them!

    Trust me, no one is copying what your organization is doing. There is no reason to keep things a secret. BE TRANSPARENT! If you ever turn this trainwreck around, then you can be secretive, until then TELL THE DAMN TRUTH. PEOPLE KNOW BS WHEN THEY HEAR IT

  82. tralfaz1127 says: Feb 11, 2014 6:45 PM

    Love this, especially all the Clowns had 6 pro bowlers, what a joke. 2 offensive linemen on an offense that couldn’t run pass or score. A WR who usnt the best in his own division (AJ Green), an average one year wonder TE, a head hunter safety (alternate) and the only legit one Haden. Talent not so much, look forward to another last place finish, after a blown draft and losing Mack, Ward, and Jackson to free agency fleeing a sinking ship.

  83. vusnu says: Feb 11, 2014 7:39 PM

    Joe Banner should not be running any kind of an organization. His primary objective is to increase his personal power within the organization. The Eagles did well by letting him go, and the Browns will have done well by letting him go as well.

  84. calvinisthobbesian says: Feb 11, 2014 7:39 PM

    I like clueless better than dysfunctional.I am trying to decide whether Haslam fits more in the Jerry Jones or tHe Daniel Snyder mold of owner idiocy.

  85. thelastpieceofcheese says: Feb 11, 2014 8:03 PM

    Haslam has regressed to the same structure – GM and coach report to owner – that the dysfunctional dolohins have.

    Except, the browns were already dysfunctional.

  86. footballcrazyguy says: Feb 11, 2014 8:28 PM

    Does that mean three people have to visit him in prison to give him updates on the team? Would seem to make more sense to have one person at the top (preferably not a soon-to-be convicted felon) to keep Jimmy up to date.

  87. arkimble says: Feb 12, 2014 8:56 AM

    Tralfaz1127 you should look at stats before you run your chops!!! Josh Gordon led the NFL in receiving yards for season yards per game. TJ Ward shoulda been the starter in the pro bowl. Polamolu only played half a season. Tools like yourself voted for him. Two bad linemen ! Any team in the NFL would take both those guys.

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