Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 8/3/12
BEREA -- Jimmy Haslams first steps as the owner of the Cleveland Browns were positive in almost every way. Haslam was engaged, candid and excited as he stood and addressed the media for the first time -- and by extension the fans. He answered a lot of questions, except about his plans for his front office. But he even declined to address those questions the proper way. It would be the wrong thing to do, Haslam said, referring to the fact he is not the owner of the Browns and wont be until NFL owners approve him. Haslam said he is planning on that happening in October, though most in the league believe it could take place this month. Haslams words were encouraging as he vowed to be open, involved and dedicated in making the Browns winners again. At this point, his words are all anyone has to go on, but fans who want an active owner who will be out front now have one. Among the myriad points he touched on --Haslams words about Mike Holmgren as team president could be taken both ways. His praise of Holmgren was effusive, but he gave no guarantee Holmgren was staying other than admitting hes heard from many in town who believe the team is finally building something good. In football, you either win or you lose, Haslam said. Its not a question of how did we do. --Haslam learned shortly after flying into town how important the Browns are to Cleveland, as the bellman at the hotel spent a few minutes lecturing him on the team. He said thats a main reason he bought the team, and that he did so at breakneck speed. The deal closed Aug. 2 and his first conversation with Randy Lerner was July 2, which shows that the Lerners were not averse to selling the team. --Haslam admitted his primary residence will be in Knoxville, Tennessee, where his business is located. But he added his wife Dee would look for a home in Cleveland Friday afternoon. He did not sound initially inclined to invest in Cleveland the way Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has, but he pointed out that he will soon have 36 truck stops in Ohio that employ 1,800 people.His main focus: Making the Browns into winners. Hopefully were a one-day story, and then it goes back to being about football, Haslam said. --Haslam is in the process of selling his minority in the Steelers, but he praised the Rooneys, saying they are everything you have ever heard they are. If that means he imports some of the Steelers ways of doing things, all the better. Because while Haslam was with the Steelers, Pittsburgh won 33 games and the Browns 14. The one element he will bring from Pittsburgh is building through the draft, and he made clear how important the draft is to him when he said a first-round pick has to not just make the team but start, and be an All-Pro. --It seemed significant when he said people live in a marketing world. Expect Cleveland Browns Stadium to have a corporate name soon, and Haslam also indicated he might be open to adjusting the teams uniforms when he said, Who knows? But he also had an important caveat with that statement as well. --(Culture) is not about uniforms and naming rights, Haslam said. Its about how you come to work every day and conduct yourself. --Patriots owner Robert Kraft also invited Haslam to New England to learn. Haslam sounded eager. Not to go, but to learn. Over and over he said he has a lot of catching up and learning to do. Theres something refreshing about a successful, candid, upbeat, up-front guy admitting he doesnt know everything. Ill ask a lot of questions and learn first, Haslam said. Im a believer in collective wisdom. Five smart people sitting around the table is better than four. --He will be hands-on and involved, but he added he will be open and transparent. Because his brother is the governor of Tennessee, Haslam said his family understands what it means to be in the public eye. Haslam sounded eager to be open, which is a good thing for the Browns. --As for the Steelers, he said he had put away his black and gold and was happy to wear orange. Our main goal, Haslam said, is to return that to a real rivalry. Which was good to hear. Not because Haslam said it, but because he gets it.
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