CLEVELAND, Ohio- Jimmy Haslam III is the new owner of the Cleveland Browns, which became official Oct. 16. And he brings with him, a new flavor for the major metropolitan city of Cleveland where professional sports is a draw.
A billionaire who was unanimously voted in as the majority owner of the football franchise last week in Chicago IL., Haslam also brings a new era of professional football to Cleveland.
He comes experienced in the corporate world, and in football.
He made his fortune as president and CEO of Pilot Flying, a nationwide truck stop travel center based in Knoxville, TN.
The former eight percent owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Haslam has taken over the Cleveland Browns in rapid fashion. His hands on approach gives some fans and players alike the feeling that there is a new sheriff in town and that the organization will be run much differently than with previous owner Randy Lerner.
But with a change in ownership of the football team, comes a change in its administration, and likely its roster too.
"The players came away [from the official news of new ownership of the team and an approaching new president and CEO] knowing that everyone is working for their jobs," said Joe Haden, a team corner back. “When you have new people, new management coming in, and you're not really secure with what's going on , that's another reason for you to step it up. Coaches are going to step up and everybody's really working for their job.”
Joe Banner will assume the role of president and CEO, with Mike Holmgren stepping down and retiring at the end of the season, Haslam said at a press conference last week, though he said also that Holmgren is expected to continue working with the team.
With Holmgren already being out at the end of the season the question looms, who will be next,?
Banner mentioned his familiarity with many who are currently on the Browns staff, like Tom Heckert, the general manager who may or may not be retained, Banner said.
“We'll sit down and evaluate everyone at the end of the season, " he said.
Banner comes to the Browns with impressive credentials.
In the 19 seasons that he served as president of the Philadelphia Eagles, the team made the playoffs 11 times. They won six National Football Conference East titles under his leadership, played in five NFC championship games, and went to one Super Bowl.
Banner is known to be a tough negotiator and to have a no nonsense approach. And with his passion for winning football games, his knowledge of football, and his support from the team's new owner, the players and staff of the Browns also better step it up for the new deputy sheriff.
Reach Karl Kimbrough at Kimbrough@Cleveland Urban News.Com
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