Browns' Haslam praises Holmgren at first press conference

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

If new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is planning to implode the franchise's front office, it sounded Friday as if the process would be methodical and might not include removing president Mike Holmgren from a prominent perch.
"I sense there is a strong feeling here that Mike and the team have things headed in the right direction," Haslam said. "I think we have to listen, learn and observe."
Former Philadelphia Eagles president Joe Banner is expected to be placed atop the totem pole of power in football operations, which casts doubt on how long Holmgren would stick around and if the two could potentially work side-by-side. Considering Banner reportedly departed the Eagles' franchise in part because of muddled delineation of decision-making power with coach Andy Reid and others, the co-pilot structure seems implausible. At best, it would be unorthodox.
Haslam said Holmgren was a future Hall of Famer who has done a commendable job building the organization through the draft. The two dined Thursday and watched parts of Friday morning's training camp practice together.
Banner, who was in Philadelphia at the same time as Browns coach Pat Shurmur, offensive coordinator Brad Childress and general manager Tom Heckert, won't likely be introduced until October, when NFL owners are expected to hold their approval vote affirming Haslam as the team's official owner. He's very familiar with NFL business and no glitches are expecting in clearing him.
The focus for the next two months will including finding a home -- Haslam's wife, Dee, was shopping for real estate Friday -- where the family will spend part of their year while maintaining their primary residence near Knoxville, Tenn., headquarters of Haslam's Flying J Travel Centers.
Patriots owner and NFL ambassador Robert Kraft was the first owner to call Haslam with well-wishes and offered to host him in Boston to show him the ropes. Haslam has already begun divesting his minority ownership stake in the Steelers.
The Browns will soon consider naming rights for Cleveland Browns Stadium and begin discussing the best structure for the team's new administration.
"There's no reason this can't be a winning franchise," Haslam said. "Everything is here."

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