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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Articles tagged: Jimmy Haslam

Company run by Browns owner ends partnership with ESPN over bombshell story

Cleveland Browns

A feature story that was published by ESPN’s Seth Wickersham last month painted Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam in a negative light, and it is clear Haslam is not happy about the piece.

According to Michael Smith of Sports Business Daily, a company that is run by Haslam called Pilot Flying J has ended its partnership with ESPN two years into a four-year deal. The agreement spanned multiple platforms and included extensive advertising with the SEC Network, which is owned by ESPN. Pilot Flying J was considered the SEC’s official travel center and was endorsed by well-known ESPN personalities Paul Finebaum and Laura Rutledge.

Smith reports that the deal between ESPN and Pilot Flying J is believed to be worth in the low seven figures annually, and the two sides are negotiating a way to terminate it.

Wickersham’s story shed light on the dysfunction that has become a theme within the Browns organization since Haslam and his wife Dee bought the team in 2012. One tidbit claimed the owners admitted privately that they have gotten in over their heads. Another aside detailed how Cleveland’s marketing team made an embarrassing mistake while trying to motivate employees to turn the losing culture around.

The Browns are coming off a promising season in which Baker Mayfield gave fans hope that he can be a franchise quarterback, and the Haslams would probably prefer to hear more about that and less about their shortcomings.

Report: Browns owner admitted ‘we just don’t know what we’re doing’

Jimmy Haslam

Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam have made more changes than they had hoped they would when they purchased the team in 2012, and there are more than a few people who feel they have no idea what they’re doing. Apparently the Haslams felt that way about themselves at one point, too.

Jimmy Haslam has hired several different general managers since buying the Browns, and you could argue that none of them are alike. He went from a lifelong football scout in Ray Farmer to an analytics-driven hire in Sashi Brown, and he ended up firing Brown toward the end of the 2017 season to hire John Dorsey, a football guy by anyone’s definition. According to Seth Wickersham’s explosive new piece about the Browns for ESPN, Dee Haslam made some very surprising remarks to people inside the team’s facility after Dorsey was brought on board.

“We just don’t know what we are doing,” sources told Wickersham they heard from Dee, though she denied it through a team spokesperson. “If we’d known how hard it would be, we never would have bought the team.”

Incompetence has become a theme for the Browns over the past decade, but things are finally starting to look promising after they finished 7-8-1 with Baker Mayfield leading the way. There are always challenges for owners in the NFL who want to be hands-on, and the Haslams have certainly seen how difficult it is since they decided to move from being minority owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers to buying their own team.

With a new regime in place, the Browns are hoping to avoid more of the embarrassing flubs we have been hearing about lately. Mayfield seems like he has the potential to help them do just that.

Browns owner thinks better roster will show ‘the real Hue Jackson’

Hue Jackson

It’s safe to say that Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam remains an enthusiastic supporter of coach Hue Jackson.

On Saturday, Haslam said the Browns are “excited” about Jackson and remain “unwavering” in their commitment to him as head coach, via Pat McManamon of ESPN.

“I think we’ll see the real Hue Jackson,” Haslam added. “Because he’s got good quarterbacks. He’s got some skill players. He’s got a veteran offensive line now; we’ve got to figure out left tackle. Three really good [running] backs. Good defense. I think you’ve heard me say this several times: You got to give Hue credit for bringing in Todd Haley [as offensive coordinator], which I think will allow Hue to be the head coach.

“So I think this will be the first opportunity Hue’s had the opportunity to do what we know he can do as head coach, as a leader.”

Jackson managed to keep his job after going a combined 1-31 over two seasons, and some oddsmakers see him as the favorite to be the first NFL coach out the door this season. Clearly, ownership doesn’t agree one bit with that assessment, or at least that’s what they’re saying.

Jimmy Haslam expects Browns to be ‘substantially better’ by 2019

Jimmy Haslam

After a 1-15 season in 2016, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is hoping the team has hit rock bottom.

Haslam admitted Saturday that he isn’t sure what to expect from his team in 2017, but is expecting them to be a lot better a season or two after that.

It’s probably too much to believe that the Browns will be good in 2017, but they’ll probably be a bit better. A big key will be finding a franchise quarterback, be it Cody Kessler, DeShone Kizer, or someone they haven’t found yet.

Of course, Haslam will want to stay out of his own way if he wants to see real progress. If they do this right, the Browns could be significantly better within his timeline, but that’s a big if.

Report: Jimmy Haslam taking more active role in tense Browns organization

Jimmy Haslam

In news that should not come as much of a surprise, the Cleveland Browns organization is falling into dysfunction once again.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported Sunday that coach Hue Jackson’s decision to bench quarterback Cody Kessler has increased already existing tensions between the team’s front office and coaching staff, but that is just the surface of the problem.

Jackson staunchly supports defensive coordinator Ray Horton, but that support is not seen elsewhere within the organization. In addition, owner Jimmy Haslam and his wife Dee have reportedly begun to take a more hands-on approach in various aspects of organizational management, with approximately ten departments now reporting directly to the owner.

“You basically have a husband and wife in charge of various areas they don’t really understand – football, coaching, scouting, analytics, ticketing, marketing,” a source told La Canfora. “And that’s the way they want it.”

Between the fact that the team is in serious danger of going winless and the fact that Haslam has a reputation for making quick, wholesale changes, the mood is rather dark within the organization amidst fears that there will be another major shakeup within the franchise.

Some people predicted this dysfunction before the season even began. Given the organizational structure and those running it, things may again get worse before they get better.

Jimmy Haslam accepts that Browns will be made fun of until they win

Jimmy Haslam

It’s no secret that the Cleveland Browns are one of sports’s greatest punchlines. So what’s it like being the owner of that punchline?

Well, Jimmy Haslam gets it. The Browns are a joke. He knows it’s on him and those under him to change that.

“Until we start winning, people are going to make fun of you,” Haslam said Tuesday, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “So it’s our job to get the right people in place to hopefully turn this thing around like we all want to see, and we’re cautiously optimistic we’ve done that.”

Haslam thinks the team is headed in the right direction, no matter what the skeptics may think.

“We haven’t played anybody, we haven’t gone through a draft, and so we’re all realistic about it, but we feel great about the people we’ve put together,” Haslam said.

Even other organizations have a laugh at the Browns’ expense, but it has to be said that certain things they do bring the reputation upon themselves. Haslam is right. Until they win – and win consistently – they’ll be a joke.

H/T NFL.com

Jimmy Haslam on Johnny Manziel’s future: ‘We do have the second pick in the draft’

Johnny Manziel

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam may have given a strong hint as to both the team’s draft strategy as well as Johnny Manziel’s future with the team.

Haslam confirmed that Manziel was a no-show on Sunday and that details were vague on what the situation is.

“It is my understanding that he was not there this morning,” Haslam said Sunday night, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

“I’m not exactly sure where Johnny is,” Haslam added. “Haven’t talked to him. I know our football people will be on top of that.”

When asked about Manziel’s future in Cleveland, Haslam was noncommittal, but dropped a pretty strong hint that Manziel may be out the door, backing offensive lineman Joe Thomas’s assertion that quarterback is the most important position on the team.

“It will be up to the coaches, and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi (Brown) and the GM as to who’s on the team,” Haslam said. “They will make those calls.”

“I don’t think there is anything that compares to it in professional sports in terms of importance to a team,” he said. “Joe has been around the game. He’s smart. He’s exactly right. We do have the second pick in the draft.”

Manziel may have used up his last chance with the Browns after not showing up at team facilities Sunday just days after allegedly partying in Las Vegas, which he has denied. It will ultimately be up to the Browns’ new regime, and a potential target like Chip Kelly may want him, but there’s only so much you can put up with.