New Browns owner returns to his former job


Former Browns owner Randy Lerner was criticized for being an absentee landlord.  New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam suddenly is, well, an absentee landlord.

Six months after stepping down as CEO of Pilot Flying J, Haslam has returned, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.  Haslam replaces former PepsiCo president John Compton, who will remain as a strategic adviser.  (Which could mean he’ll eventually fade away quietly in lieu of being publicly poop-canned now.)

Still, Haslam is saying, “It’s not him, it’s me.”  Sort of.

“This is about me realizing my first love is running Pilot Flying J and wanting to return to that job,” Haslam said.

In a statement released to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, spokesman Neal Gulkis said of Haslam’s move, “It’s not going to affect his involvement with the team nor is it going to have any impact on the operations of the Browns.”

As a practical matter, however, the move nudges CEO Joe Banner into the Mike Holmgren role.  With Haslam out of the picture on a day-to-day basis and ensconced in the family business that helped him earn the money to buy the Browns, Banner is now the lead dog in the Dawg Pound.

23 responses to “New Browns owner returns to his former job

  1. Banner totally screwed up the Eagles…now its the Browns’ turn.

    The Browns problem is that they have $48 million in cap space and NOOOO quarterback in sight. Brandon Weeden…get real.

  2. The Browns have become nothing more than a “toy” that rich folks play with for a while, then kick them aside for other interests.

    I can’t help but feel Haslam planned this the entire time, as Joe Banner stated right up front, he wanted to be part of an investment group that would allow him to run a franchise.

    It almost like Haslam made a “straw purchase” of the Browns, getting NFL approval, then handing the franchise over to Banner to run for him.

    Interesting how this worked out “exactly” like Banner wanted…he is now the guy in charge of the Browns.

    Just another kick in the teeth for Browns fans…THANKS, JIMMY

  3. I weep for all Browns fans. As an Eagles fan, I saw firsthand how “well” he built a team. Take a peek at the 2010 & 2011 drafts by the Eagles. If reports are correct, those are the drafts that Banner had an increased role in. His business savvy & cap knowledge made him a great “capologist” in the front office, but he is not the kind of guy you want running your team.

  4. Not really what Browns fans want to hear. There had better be some significant improvement on the field this fall or people are going to turn on this guy faster than you can say “five and eleven”.

  5. And the euphoria that Browns fans were feeling about having a hands on owner who was actually going to care about, and put money and heart into the team, has just left the building! Boo Haslam!

  6. tj…go to agree with you, my home would be in the stadium too.

    Guess this means that Haslam’s multi-million dollar home on the lake will be up for sale again.

    Anyone remember all that talk from Haslam about what he learned from the Steelers and “the Rooney Way” ? Well, Haslam didn’t learn “this” from the Steelers, did he?

    The Rooney’s were smart to only sell Haslam a minority share of the the Steelers franchise.

    Now Haslam can return to Tennessee where his first football interest resides…the Tennessee Vols.

    I hope Browns fans realize, when Haslam talks, you don’t know if he telling the truth or not.

    My greatest concern now, isn’t winning…it is if the Browns will even remain in Cleveland. I remember when Banner was first shopping for an investment group and there was talk of the Bills being a target.

    …Banner was asked about moving the Bills to Los Angles and he stated, he was “open to L.A. I don’t want to single them (the Bills) out, but that’s something I think I can do – set up a franchise, help build a stadium, hire a coach, hire good people to build a a winning organization.”

    I realize Haslam said he would not move the Browns, (if Browns fans can believe anything Haslam says), but that does not mean Banner wouldn’t move the team as the defacto owner of the Browns.

  7. Is this good news or bad news? That depends.

    If Haslam has the feel for running a football franchise of the Rooneys, the Maras, Bob Kraft, or Steve Bisciotti … then it’s a loss to have him distance himself from the team. But if he’s got that kind of football blood in his veins, he probably wouldn’t distance himself from the team.

    On the other hand, if he’s another Jerry Jones or Dan Snyder, the Browns just dodged a bullet. But if he were a Jerry Jones or Dan Snyder, you couldn’t pry him off the team.

    He’s probably somewhere in the middle. He’s going to run his company while keeping close tabs on this very expensive asset through the football people he’s hired to run it. If Banner and Lombardi don’t do the job, he’ll find people who will.

  8. Ask any Browns fan if they would rather have Holmgren/Heckert or Banner/Lombardi running the show in Cleveland. I’ll bet 90% would rather have Heckert back, even if Holmgren was along for the ride.

    Lerner or Haslem? Same guy. Just substitute the truck stops for Ashton Villa soccer. No difference.

    I hate being a Browns fan sometimes…

  9. The pain of being a Browns fan — I can only imagine.

    The thing about the Holmgren Plan is it takes time. More time than the NFL seems to allow these days. But the Browns were by most accounts on the right path, and for those of you “meh” on Holmgren, keep in mind that his job was to hire folks like Heckert and then give them what they need to do their jobs.

    That said, getting outmaneuvered for RGIII and then having a relatively reactive draft as a result was definitely a problem, and at just the wrong time (change of ownership).

    But now you’re on a brand new path with an ownership / management group no one seems to trust and an owner whose first acts were to change everything for the sake of change, and then violate the spirit of his first promises to the fan base by returning to his day job.

    Like I said, the pain of being a Browns fan. I can only imagine.

  10. ravenmuscle says:

    The Browns problem is that they have $48 million in cap space and NOOOO quarterback in sight.
    solution = General Flacco.

  11. At least Haslam actually built his business. Lerner never earned a thing on his own. The reason he wasn’t around was not because he was indispensible to his other businesses, that’s for sure.

    I would like to see howHaslam handles this before I get on his case either way.

  12. “This is about me realizing my first love is running Pilot Flying J and wanting to return to that job.”

    Oh yeah. That kind of statement will inspire confidence in Browns fans that things will be different from the Lerner era.

    Way to go, Jimmy.

  13. I don’t think he planned to go back. I think he had to go back. It seems that something wasn’t right with his replacement as CEO of the family company, and Jimmy Haslam was compelled to go home to take care of it personally. The success of Pilot Flying J allowed Jimmy Haslam to buy the Browns, and much of the company’s success was due to his own effort.

    If Jimmy Haslam had planned to go back to Pilot Flying J all along, I don’t think he would have purchased the big house that he did up in Cleveland, or accepted a position on the Cleveland Clinic Board of Directors. In fact, the appointment to the Clinic’s board was just announced late last week. The timing suggests that something is amiss at Pilot Flying J, that he just learned of it, and that he thought he had to go back and right the ship himself.

    As for John Compton, I can’t imagine he left PepsiCo merely to keep Jimmy’s seat warm for six months. Something must have gone wrong.

    Jimmy’s comments? A face saving move.

    I’m still reserving judgment of Jimmy Haslam as an NFL owner. I don’t think this makes him more like Randy Lerner. I think he’ll be in Cleveland plenty, as much as he can be. I suspect he wants to be in Cleveland, but right now he has to be in Tennessee.

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