The NFL owners voted Tuesday to make Jimmy Haslam III the new Cleveland Browns owner
In Chicago he said;
“It’s obviously, a very exciting day for our family and I guess like a lot of families, it’s one that we have dreamed about for a long, long time. What we’ve come to understand since August 3 when we were introduced in Berea, Ohio is that’s it’s made even more special by the fact that it’s the Cleveland Browns. I had always heard what a great football town and football area Cleveland and Northeast Ohio is, but what we’ve experienced since August 3 has been nothing short of phenomenal. This is truly one of the great, iconic NFL brands and if you think back to Paul Brown and of course arguably the greatest NFL player of all time, Jim Brown, it’s a very special place. As we have said on numerous occasions we’re going to do everything we possibly can and work as hard as we possibly can to bring a winning team to the fans of Cleveland whether they’re in Cleveland, Northeast Ohio or one of the many Browns Backers around the country. We’re going to work hard for them. Somebody asked me if I was excited to win the first game and I said, ‘Well of course we were, it’s a relief.’ and I was excited for the players and the coaches who work hard, put a lot of time in and candidly, catch all of the grief, but I was really most excited for our fans. As we left the stadium an hour or so after the game there were still thousands of people around and if I didn’t know better I would have thought we just won the AFC Championship instead of winning our first game in 11 months. It’s a great town, it’s a great football community and we feel very privileged to now own the team, it’s really an asset of the community and we’re going to do everything we can to increase the value of that asset and candidly, the way you do that is you put a winning team on the field.
“I want to comment on three different people, I’ll start with a family group. The Haslam family owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to the Lerner family. If you think back to, first of all the late Al Lerner, who worked so hard to bring a team back to Cleveland. We wouldn’t be standing here today if he hadn’t done that. Secondly, his wife Norma who has become a great friend of my wife and I and who has been very gracious at introducing southerners to the Cleveland community. It’s been outstanding. Then lastly to Randy Lerner who I met for the first time on July 2 and he’s worked very closely with us during this transition process. It’s been a great experience with the Lerner family and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them into the future.
“The next person I want to comment on is Mike Holmgren. I’ll be honest, I had never met Mike until Thursday night, August 2. Of course I knew of him, knew the famous Super Bowl winning coach, etcetera. On Thursday night, August 2, my dad, my wife and I had dinner with Mike and it was suppose to be a hour dinner and it ended up being about three hours. We quickly found out we had two things in common, and I want to get this right because my wife is probably listening, family and football. We talked for a long time and had a great visit and since that time we have spent hours and hours together. Candidly, I’ve spent more time with Mike than anyone in the organization. He’s been kind enough to answer hundreds and hundreds of questions about the NFL and pro football and how you do this and why you do this, etcetera. Mike has decided with our becoming the owner that his role would obviously change a lot. Mike was brought in to be the President and I think in a lot of ways the de facto owner and with us coming in and taking a more active role, Mike has decided to, effective at the end of the year, to leave the Cleveland Browns and to retire. Mike will work very closely with us over the next three or four months to ensure that this transition goes as well as possible. Mike and I have had numerous long talks and I know that he has been and still is committed to doing everything he can to help make the Cleveland Browns a better football team.