The honeymoon ends abruptly for Jimmy Haslam and Cleveland


Jimmy is likely getting upset.

Earlier this week, when new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam disclosed that he’ll be heading back to Tennessee to resume his former job as CEO of the truck-stop company that kick-started his immense wealth, some Browns fans complained that Haslam is no different than former absentee Browns owner Randy Lerner.

And so when Haslam made it clear he’ll still be involved with free agency and the draft, some Browns fans complained that Haslam is no different than über-meddler Jerry Jones.

There’s a huge difference between an owner who is neither physically present nor engaged in the active ownership of the team (like Lerner was) and an owner who doesn’t live in the city where the team is located but nevertheless cares deeply about the football operation.  The problem for Haslam is that he unwittingly has camped out at two extremes:  (1) abandoning Cleveland for his “first love” of truck-stop management; and (2) rolling up the sleeves and nudging his football experts out of the way when it’s time to make decisions.

The fact that he otherwise won’t be around until periodically swooping in and telling the folks doing the heavy lifting what to do creates the worst possible perception for a sports owner.

The best owners fall in the middle.  They’re committed primarily to the team, but they know what they don’t know and when it comes to football they trust the folks who have been hired to take care of business.

For Haslam, the problem is that he’s following a guy who didn’t seem to care at all about the team he owned, and who kept the franchise for as long as he did simply because his late father wanted him to.  In this specific case, Browns fans may not have even realized that Haslam was tending to his truck-stop business in the offseason if Haslam hadn’t been so vocal about it — and if Haslam hadn’t justified the move by suggesting that he loves running truck stops more than he loves running a football team.

Either way, the honeymoon is officially over for Haslam and Cleveland.

At least he still has his truck stops.

38 responses to “The honeymoon ends abruptly for Jimmy Haslam and Cleveland

  1. Or could it be that there’s just not much else going on right now with the team for him to do? No, that couldn’t be it. Because then you couldn’t come up with nonsensical articles like this.

    It’s not like he isn’t a phone call and a one hour flight away.

  2. So now, when fans come into the Factory of Sadness, will they be greeted by The Grateful Dead’s “Truckin'” over the P.A.?

  3. These business moguls are used to getting their own way and don’t know what they don’t know.

    Good luck, Cleveland. You deserve better.

  4. The man hired a CEO, GM and head coach. How involved did everyone think he was going to be? He said in the begginning he would be hiring the right people to run the football operations. He is a business man, not a football man. This is not a suprise for anyone who paid attention since he got the team.

    Go Browns!

  5. The proposed level of involvement Jimmy laid out is fine.

    I love all things Brownies but will be the first to tell you the fans can get really irrational and impossible to please.

    Winning would help. A LOT….

  6. Pat Bowlen is the perfect example of one of the better owners in the NFL. Does not meddle in the football operations and doesn’t disappear. As a Broncos fan, I am quite happy with what Bowlen has done, and hasn’t done for that matter.

  7. He should at least stay in Cleveland for his first full offseason. But, he does have his guys in place – I just hope he keeps them accountable.

  8. The Browns fans who are whining are the same ones that think Josh Cribbs is the answer to every skill position deficiency we have. As long as the Browns start winning games I don’t give a flying rats bananas what Haslam does.

  9. Typical Browns fans. No matter what the team does, it’s a mistake. Everyone was calling for Heckert’s head and they got it. But look around, Heckert’s drafts are actually pretty damned good. Now you have Mike Lombardi, who is probably second to Vinny Ceratto in the NFL in terms of respect as a GM. (btw- Ceratto is really good on radio so maybe Lombardi should look into that)

    Thanks to Art Modell for finding Steve B. I would make the argument that he is in the top 5 owners in the league. He only gets involved when he really believes he has to as opposed to Jerrah Jonz who gets involved all the time because he wants to.

  10. To me, I am afraid that Haslam’s purchasing of the Browns is nothing more than an investment. It will either be an investment that makes money or an investment that will be a huge write-off on his taxes each year. Option three is that the Browns are just his play toy just because he can. I had faith that this would be the guy to turn things around by hiring the right people, even if he wasn’t actively running the team. With the appointments of Banner and Lombardi, you can throw that notion out the window. Best move would have been to retain Heckert who provided solid building blocks and arguably would have had another decent draft this year. I do like the coaching staff, but if the front office can’t get the personnel right, we will be subjected to a corn-studded turd on the field no matter how much they try to polish it.

  11. You have to know what you don’t know, and he obviously does. The only question is whether the “Football People” he installed who “what he doesn’t know about the business of football” actually know what they are doing (these “Football People,” I mean Banner & Lombardi).

    Football teams are judged IMO not by wins or losses, but by growth. If the football people can make the team grow then it doesn’t matter. Yes, he does suffer from the fact that the previous owner was an absentee landlord and everybody is worrying whether he will be the same, but tell me, other than Jerry Jones, what other owner is always around the team? How many do you actually even know their names or have an idea what they do?

    Let him do his truck business and step in when his football people stop knowing how to do the business of football the way they should. That point is when the growth starts to taper off and become excessive blow out failures. Until then, if he manages his truck business but keeps a keen eye on the growth of our Browns I will be happy. Growth as I said, isn’t always visible in mere wins and losses – so don’t panic Browns fans.

  12. Browns have had a Top 5-10 draft pick for the last 10 years or LONGER! Somethin just ain’t right over there

  13. “we will be subjected to a corn-studded turd on the field no matter how much they try to polish it.”

    On the other hand, an opening for a “Corn-
    Studded Turd Polisher” is an opening nonetheless in the depressed Rust Belt. They can expect 3,000 resumes.

  14. “Im worried blah blah blah”. Are you freakin’ kiddin’ me?The guy has owned the team for 5 mos. Give him a chance to be an owner before you label him.

  15. As a Browns fan, this is what I fear the difference is between Bigplay Haslam and Jerruh Jones:

    Jones puts in year-round, full-time work watching film/scouting and has decades’ experience at this point.

    Haslam is an armchair scout who hasn’t done the work and has now put himself in a position where he CAN’T do the work b/c he’s running a billion $ truck stop company “on the side”.

  16. By this article, it sounds like Haslam’s only option is to stay in Cleveland and then shut the hell up and get out of the way …. all so he can get 15 more minutes added to his figurative “honeymoon” period.

    Screw that. Let the guy do it his way until he proves his way is garbage. I’m no Browns fan, but they are showing some signs of life. If Weeden comes along like they hoped and T-Rich isn’t out there playing with as much as four injuries (rib, ankle, wrist, chest) at time — they might make some noize.

    Also, my Steelers appear to be sliding back for too many reasons to count, but cap, age, injuries and years of spotty drafts are some of them. Cleveland has some things to feel good about, and Haslam’s passion for the team shouldn’t be questioned or looked down upon over this.

  17. We Browns fans do tend to be a little irrational. We do tend to think that everything the team does is a mistake. That’s because everything the team has done for the past 14 years HAS been a mistake. Except drafting Joe Thomas.

    If the team shows some life this fall (for a change), everyone will calm down. But the non-Browns fans should understand that 14 years of constant losing does in fact make people kind of edgy.

  18. This time of year is the best to be a Cleveland Browns fan. They have good,young talent, a new coaching staff, the draft & free agency periods to improve the roster. You can almost hear the birds chirping and smell the flowers blooming. Then comes September, they’ll lose again on opening day, and I’ll be pounding my head on a wall.

  19. The honeymoon is over … between Haslam and the sports yappers on Cleveland talk radio, and the fans who are swung by what those yapper cry about. They’re never happy unless they’re crying. I don’t know if they’d know what to say if the team wasn’t losing, and players weren’t getting hurt or getting away.

    Mr. Haslam, I’m going to give you at least a draft and a full season before I start crying!


  20. As a Bears fan, I have not always embraced the McCaskey’s, ‘specially when they let Michael run the team back in the ’80s, but lately they have let the ‘football people’ handle things…This has led to stability if not an abundance of playoff appearances…Both Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith had ample opportunities to bring the Bears to an elite level, and one Super Bowl appearance aside, failed to do so. And thus, the McCaskey’s chose to make changes, time will tell if
    Emery and Trestman can succeed where their predecessors did not.

    As for Jimmy Haslam, I’d give the man more than five months before deeming his ownership style a failure, and hope that his ‘football people’ do indeed know their stuff. I’d love to see the Browns and their fans enjoy success once again.

  21. Had high hopes when Jimmy Haslem purchased Cleveland Browns, got really concerned when Joe Banner was hired to be C.E.O.,the honeymoon ended when the Browns hired Mike Lombardi to be player personnel manager. These hires make concerned Browns fan think that the Browns will remain ludicrously inept.

  22. The Browns will be ok….. We have more then enough talent both on the roster & on the Coaching staff to be successful without hands on involvement from Jimmy Haslim… At least for the time being…

    Mr. H just has to be responsible & direct his focus toward the mess in Tennessee… He’ll be back…. & he will always be involved with The Browns.. He is not anything like Lerner…. His break away from Cleveland is probably a good thing…. The Coaches can relax a bit better now…. They got this…..

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