Originally posted on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 8/3/12

When Jimmy Haslam III arrived in Berea, Ohio, the first thing he noticed was the water tower that stands proudly next to the Ohio Turnpike. The first thing that jumped out to him was the giant, orange Browns helmet that graces the side. A business man through and through, Haslam could only think to himself, “way to go.”

With as much of a southern drawl as anyone who has addressed the Cleveland media has ever had Haslam took to the podium in Berea, just one month after meeting Randy Lerner for the first time, just hours after finalizing the details on a deal which NFL commissioner Roger Goddell coined the quickest he had ever seen. Ten years after the passing of Al Lerner, the man who brought the Browns back to Cleveland, Randy Lerner handed off the keys to the Cleveland franchise, a franchise which Haslam quickly removed any doubt regarding a potential relocation, and repeatedly said will be a winner once again.

Winning the room over one word at a time and citing a 53-year business track record with Pilot-Flying J, Haslam III verbally etched his sole mission as team owner: winning. He’s going to spend the necessary time (his family will in fact purchase a home in the area), get to know the town, and take the additional necessary steps to get the team back to a level of prominence. “Cleveland has a great fan base, and all the money you need,” said Haslam. “We just have to execute.”

One of Haslam’s first orders of business will be attending the upcoming Family Fun Night at Cleveland Browns Stadium, where the team will hold their annual, free-of-charge scrimmage. But if you’re looking for Haslam, he may not be too hard to find as his intentions are to spurn the owner’s box to take the game in from the stands, shaking hands, obtaining feedback.

The half-hour address of the Cleveland media, coupled with the slew of interviews that will be given throughout the duration of the day, will amount to more face time than Haslam’s predecessor gave over the course of the last 10 years. While Haslam did exude respect and admiration for Randy Lerner, it is undoubtedly apparent that the team’s new owner will be in the public eye. “I want to be available, transparent and selling the Cleveland Browns,” he said.

Haslam is already referring to Brandon Weeden as “Brandon,” and Trent Richardson as “Trent.” While he applauded the Rooney family (and said his first post-ownership meeting will be with New England’s Rober Kraft), Haslam never mentioned the Pittsburgh Steelers by name — “that team to the east.” Open and honest, no comments were made about current or future personnel. No firm declarations were given with regard to the future name of the stadium or potential for an alteration in the team’s colors or uniforms. But what was given a firm commitment was that the CEO of Pilot-Flying J is the majority owner of a once-proud franchise and is firmly looking to get it back to a level that has long been missing.

“I’m not an expert on the Cleveland Browns, but it’s my job to get there,” Haslam said. “This is a good, exciting young team thats on the upswing.”

There’s no guarantee that first impressions will last forever, but for a team in dire need of a public relations spark, one was undoubtely ignited in Berea with the beginning of the 2012 season just weeks away.

(Joshua Gunter/Plain Dealer)

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Top takeaways from Sunday’s Week 3 NFL action

Odell Beckham pretends to pee like a dog after scoring TD

Jerry Jones explains why he opposes national anthem protests

Bears cornerback pulls a Leon Lett after blocked field goal

Jadeveon Clowney does the Gronk spike after defensive touchdown

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LeGarrette Blount tramples Giants defenders on first-down run

WATCH: Whitney Mercilus sacks Tom Brady, Jadeveon Clowney recovers for TD

Aldon Smith reaches plea deal in DUI case, avoids jail time

WATCH: Duke Johnson scores on brilliant 19-yard run

He's back! Jamaal Charles scores first Broncos TD

LeSean McCoy stretched during national anthem

Getaway Day: Closing time on 2017 regular season

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Getaway Day: Closing time on 2017 regular season

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker