Cleveland Browns Jimmy Haslam: We are realistic about where we stand

Dec 20, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam watches pre game warmups against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 20, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam watches pre game warmups against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has always been long on promises, but short on results. Do his latest comments reveal that he has changed his ways?

Ever since Jimmy Haslam came to town in the fall of 2012 as owner of the Cleveland Browns, he has been long on promises and short on results.

In his opening press conference, Haslam laid out his vision for the Browns:

"“Everybody is fired up and excited about football and when people say, ‘Why the Cleveland Browns?’ That’s why we say it, because the excitement and the importance of football, the Browns to this community is immense and we’re all about that and I can assure you we have one mission and one mission only and that’s to bring winning back to Cleveland. That’s the sole thing we’re focused on and I want everybody know it and understand it."

"“We want to bring a winning team back to Cleveland.”"

Four years and 45 losses later, Haslam is still working on the “winning” part when it comes to teh Browns.

This time a year ago, Haslam promised that things were finally in place for the Browns:

"“We’re not going to blow things up, OK? I think we’re on the right track, so we’re not going to blow things up. [I] Understand why people might ask that after a couple of bumps in the road the first couple years. I think we’re putting in place a good foundation.”"

“It’s our hope … that the team will be better at the end of the year than it is at the first of the year.” – Jimmy Haslam

When the Browns open the season on Sept. 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles, they will be led by the fourth different head coach and fourth different front office setup under Haslam.

It’s reached the point where Haslam has squandered so much of the trust he banked when he took over from Randy Lerner that it is hard to be anything but cynical when he makes his annual state of the Browns address.

Which is why it was refreshing to hear Haslam speak candidly about the fact that the Browns are in the early stages of a heavy rebuilding project, one that will hopefully set things right.

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“I can’t guarantee that we’re going to have a winning season after going 3-13,” Haslam said earlier today. “I do think we’ll be a better football team. I know we’ll be a better football team. I think, as I said at the first, we’re directionally correct and we have pretty good fans who will understand that this is a team. We’ve only practiced two days, but I do think we’ll play hard, and I think fans appreciate that.

“At the same time, we’re realistic. We’re realistic that last year we were 3-13. This is a franchise that has not drafted well over the years, and that of course is how you build a good football team. We are cautiously optimistic about the draft we had last year. We have a lot of picks coming up next year and hope to position ourselves. We will have a lot of picks in ’18.

“The takeaway should be we’re very excited, we’re cautiously optimistic but the same time realistic about where we stand.”

If Haslam truly means that he will be realistic about the Browns this fall, that is good news for head coach Hue Jackson and executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, who can go about the correct way of building a football team without worrying about the final record – at least for this year.

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While we’ve been down this road far too many times with an owner who has only controlled the team for as short of a time as Haslam, his willingness since the latest reboot to be open about his mistakes should give Browns fans renewed hope that this time Haslam got it right.