Jimmy Haslam became owner of the Cleveland Browns in October 2012, ending years of suffering under the ownership of Randy Lerner. Well, that’s what was supposed to happen.
The Browns were floundering when Haslam took over. Mike Holmgren came in and set this team back years with his drafting, and Pat Shurmur was in over his head as the coach of the team.
So Haslam decided to make some changes and bring in Joe Banner as CEO and Rob Chudzinski as head coach. Mike Lombardi was brought on as the GM.
February 2014 came and none of the three remained with the Browns.
Things are still in disarray, and Haslam had done little to change the culture in Cleveland. But his ownership did bring a great deal of hope to fans when the change was announced. Randy Lerner was never the right guy to run the Browns, and was thrust into the role because of his father.
But Browns fans have yet to see if Haslam is the right guy. His company, Pilot Flying J, was investigated in 2013 for fraud against underprivileged individuals, which provided a quick scare that he would have to sell the team just months after the initial. Luckily, an ownership change was avoided, although perhaps another owner would have had made some better personnel decisions.
The instant excitement over Haslam’s purchase of the team quickly faded away, especially after the personnel overhaul following the 2013 season. Call it a do-over, but Haslam must begin making better decisions if he wants that initial excitement to return. – SK
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