Before the last few months, if you said the name James Arthur Haslam III to a Cleveland Browns fan or NFL fan for that matter, they probably would have thought nothing of it. In just thirteen days, Haslam takes over as the sixth owner (officially) of the historic Browns franchise.
The first thing the well spoken Haslam told Browns fans at his first press conference was that the Browns were staying in the city of Cleveland. That was a huge relief seeing as how the team up and moved to Baltimore, Maryland after the 1995 season led by the late Cleveland villain Art Modell. All the signs were there that current owner Randy Lerner wanted nothing to do with the struggling franchise. Lerner cared more about another “futbol” club across the ocean in which he had ownership in as well. Enough is enough, out with the old and in with the new.
From making his presence known at training camp to games to doing interviews with all the local media, Haslam is saying all the right things, which is music to Browns fans’ ears. It is refreshing to know that we will have an owner that not only cares but is willing to do something about it right away. Haslam, who recently stepped down as CEO of Pilot Flying J Corporation, seems like a no nonsense man ready to dive right in. Despite being a former minority owner of that team east of Cleveland, he seems like he actually gets “it” and understands the fans deep depression. By spending the tremendous amount of dough that Haslam has, it is clear that he is going to run things his way and do anything he possibly can to turn this “business” around. That is the mindset and approach Haslam has had his whole life.
With rumors swirling about a retractable roof being put on the stadium to modifying the colors and uniforms, this could be the change the Browns so desperately need. In this town, history shows that any time a uniform change is made, the organization takes a turn for the better. Just ask the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Indians.
But as the old Cleveland saying goes “There’s always next year”, we most likely won’t see significant changes until 2013.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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