Another day, another interesting report about the Cleveland Browns and new owner Jimmy Haslam. A source with the Browns indicated that Haslam recently visited The Ohio State University to take in a practice session with the football team.
Now this could mean absolutely nothing, or it could mean absolutely everything. While admittedly unlikely, some people I've talked to have speculated that Haslam's presence could mean that he is trying to lure Urban Meyer away from Columbus to be the next Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns.
It could also just be a routine visit, he could have friends or business associates in Columbus, or it could be a way to gain some publicity for his new team. With that said, I haven't seen any media reports about his visit and if it were a publicity stunt, I assure you the media would've been all over it.
I'm not saying Jimmy Haslam intentionally hid this visit, but he certainly didn't publicize it from what I have seen.
Some have speculated that Haslam may have been there to scout prospects rather than to court Meyer. While I'm not sure he was there with the intent to steal Meyer from Ohio State, I'm fairly certain he wouldn't be there personally to do scouting for the draft.
While I highly doubt Meyer will be the next coach of the Browns, and I'm not even sure I buy into the idea that Haslam is recruiting him (or laying the groundwork for the recruitment), it is interesting nonetheless.
Why won't Urban Meyer coach the Cleveland Browns?
1. Meyer walked away from one of the top collegiate jobs in the country at Florida after winning two national championships and being poised to compete for the foreseeable future. He then walked away from a low stress, lucrative job with ESPN for what was deemed his "Dream Job" in returning to Columbus. I highly doubt he would walk away from that job with the foundation in place to compete for a title in the next several years after just one year on the job.
2. Meyer makes $4M/year in base salary with job security. This doesn't include other media contracts, perks, and performance bonuses. The highest paid coach in the NFL is Bill Belichick at $7.5M/year. While nearly double Meyer's salary, there is a strong likelihood that Meyer (or any new NFL Head Coach for that matter) wouldn't make it beyond his first contract in the NFL. While it is easy to say the best move is to keep the consistent paycheck for as long as he wants to coach the Buckeyes, the only wildcard is what Meyer or any top collegiate coach is looking for. A challenge to compete and win at the highest level? The biggest paycheck? Consistency?
3. If Meyer walked away from two great positions before and held out for his "dream job" at Ohio State, why would he leave after 1 year? And why would he leave for what has been a relative train wreck in the Browns? If Meyer were to leave Columbus, I'd have to think he'd only consider it for a franchise that is well positioned to win now.
4. I'm not even sure Haslam is interested in Meyer as Head Coach for the Browns. If he were seriously trying to lure him to Berea, I don't know that he would flaunt it right in front of Ohio State by recruiting him during the season and right at their practice.
At this point I can't say what Jimmy Haslam is thinking as it relates to the head coaching position. For all we know, he's full steam ahead with Pat Shurmur... But one thing is for certain. Mr. Haslam is making things interesting for once.