Cleveland Browns: Has Jimmy Haslam finally figured out his problems?
Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has had his fair share of issues since becoming the owner, but is he finally learning from his mistakes?
Since becoming the owner of the Cleveland Browns in the middle of the 2012 season, there have not been a shortage of stories surrounding Jimmy Haslam.
Whether it be his meddling in the football department of the organization, his quick trigger when deciding to fire general managers and coaches, or the federal case against his truck stop business, there is always something going on with Haslam.
Haslam’s reputation took another on hit on January 24, when ESPN’s Seth Wickersham published a piece detailing the dysfunction in the Browns organization over the past several years. Citing multiple sources from the organization, the piece mentions how Haslam created more chaos in the building.
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"For the past six years, as Haslam’s former life dissolved, he tightly gripped every aspect of the Cleveland organization, often creating as much chaos as he inherited, according to more than two dozen interviews with current and former Browns executives, coaches, lawyers, scouts and staffers, as well as league executives and other team owners and executives, most of whom requested confidentiality. – Seth Wickersham"
Wickersham would later say that Haslam wanted to be a “football guy,” and he would often ask staffers about what was going on in the building. Haslam being so intertwined with the football side of the organization led to him and the team making some questionable decisions.
For most of his tenure as the Browns owner, Haslam has been regularly seen at press conferences or on the field during practices. It was obvious that he wanted to know everything about the football operations and have an impact on football decisions.
However, after years of rushed and poor decisions, it appears that Haslam is starting take a step back from the football operations. No longer is he the voice of the football decisions, as general manager John Dorsey has taken over that role.
Dorsey is an established executive and runs the football operations the way that he wants them to be run. In order for that to happen, he needed Haslam to take a step back. And it seems Haslam has done exactly that.
Haslam has been known to have a loud voice when hiring the team’s next head coach. He would have the team interview the candidates that he wanted instead of letting his football executives find the coaches who are the best fits.
It seemed like that was going to happen again with the most recent coaching search. Reports surfaced that Haslam was interested in former Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase after Haslam’s friend, Peyton Manning, recommended Gase to Haslam.
Due to his friendship with Manning, it seemed destined that Haslam would force Dorsey to interview Gase. Instead, the Browns did not show any interest in Gase and did not interview him for the head coach position.
It was a great sign for the Browns organization since it appears that Haslam was no longer forcing himself into the football operations. He is letting his football people make the football decisions, which is why he hired those people. By taking himself out of the process, the people in the organization that know the most about the coaches and players in the league are making the decisions.
And when the Browns made the decision for their next head coach, it was not Haslam that sat on the podium to announce the decision – something that he has done frequently in his tenure with the Browns. Instead, he sat in the front row as Dorsey and Freddie Kitchens took questions from the media.
After six years of being the Browns owner, Haslam is progressing as the leader of the organization. Although he may still be listening to everything going on in the building, he is not forcing his word into the situations.
It is a great sign of progress for Haslam and it is happening at an important time for the organization. Cleveland has become a destination in the NFL now that they have their franchise quarterback, Baker Mayfield. The Browns do not want anything happening that would hurt Mayfield’s development. Haslam’s meddling would have been one of those problems.
But if he really has taken a step back, then Mayfield and the Browns coaches will have room to do what they need to do. As long as Haslam is able to keep his ego out of the football operations, then the Cleveland Browns are in the best spot they have been in since Haslam became the owner.