Immediately, one senses a major shift in the attitude and visibility of the Browns’ ownership. Not to take anything away from Lerner, but Haslam comes off as very personable, a big presence that commands a room.
That is something that has been severely lacking from Browns ownership in recent years. While Lerner did everything in his power to put the right people in place to build a winning team, it never sat well with people that he preferred to remain out of the limelight.
In that regard, Haslam is off to a great start.
Surprisingly, people found very little to complain about in regards to Haslam’s introductory press conference. Other than a few gripes about the naming rights of the stadium potentially being sold off and the door not being closed on future uniform changes, just about everything Haslam said hit the spot for Browns fans. That in itself should be considered a major accomplishment.
As for the topic of personnel changes, Haslam wisely deflected those questions, respecting the process (as the sale still needs to be approved). It felt awkward to watch president Mike Holmgren introduce Haslam with so many infamous “sources” indicating that Holmgren is likely out when the new ownership gets settled.
Despite that, Haslam had only great things to say about Holmgren, calling him “a future Hall of Famer.”
Just about everyone in Cleveland wanted a hands-on owner and, now, that wish has been granted. That doesn’t always work out, as its pretty hard to toe the line between being an enthusiastic owner and one who is a power-hungry maniac.
For now, though, fans feel as if their owner is willing to do anything to create a winning culture in Cleveland. Lerner was given, at times, an unfair amount of criticism, but there is no denying a major philosophy shift in the Browns organization. And, hopefully, this honeymoon period lasts longer than anyone can imagine.