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Criticism, pratfalls do not shake Haslams commitment

Criticism, pratfalls do not shake Haslams commitment
criticism-pratfalls-do-not-shake-haslams-commitment


Stung by sarcasm that deems his team amateurish, buffeted by Giancarlo Stanton Jerseyreports of a dysfunctional organization, confused by criticism that catches him by surprise, Jimmy Haslam still has one word to describe his feelings about owning the Cleveland Browns. "A privilege," he said as he sat next to his wife and fellow owner Dee at the recently concluded NFL owners meetings. "Unequivocally, yes, it's a real privilege to be in this position." He said that's especially true in Cleveland, a city some 500 miles from his home in Knoxville, Tennessee. "Besides the fact that it's really cold in the winter," Haslam said with a smile, "[Cleveland's] a really nice place to live. With great people and tremendous football fans." Haslam stands firm in his commitment, but he has had his share of tumult and upheaval in less than three years of owning the Browns. From general manager Ray Farmer being suspended four games because of illegal in-game texting, to offensive http://www.authenticdodgersshop.com/authentic-42-jackie-robinson-jersey.html coordinator Kyle Shanahan leaving with two years left on his contract, to first-round pick and expected face-of-the-franchise quarterback Johnny Manziel finishing rehab, to former All-Pro receiver Josh Gordon facing another suspension for substance abuse, headlines have not been kind to the Browns. And that was all within the past few months. "Let's face it," he said, "it hasn't been the smoothest start in the world." Since the family bought the team for just more than $1 billion in October 2012, the Browns have been through three head coaches, three general managers, seven quarterbacks and (in two full seasons under Haslam) 21 losses in 32 games. In the same span, Pilot Flying J, the Haslam family's company, went through an FBI raid on its headquarters as part of an investigation into alleged fraud regarding fuel rebates. Several executives have plead guilty, and Haslam had to pay heavily to fix the mess -- in fines, restitution and in his image in Cleveland. "Nobody likes criticism, let's face it," Haslam said. "We've had our Erick Aybar Jersey share, some of it probably self-inflicted and deserved. Others maybe not. "But it is what it is." Last week Haslam even had to deny a story about him switching ownership of teams, a scenario that would see him giving up the Browns for the Tennessee Titans. He blistered the report, saying there was no foundation and expressing anger that he even had to address it. "We feel really fortunate to own an NFL team, we feel really fortunate that it's Cleveland, and we're totally committed to turning the franchise around and making it a consistent winner," he said. "We're committed to do that, and it's not easy. OK? "It's not easy." The final two words say much. Haslam joined the Browns after serving as minority partner with the Steelers, a team and organization that exudes stability and success. The Steelers have had the same number of coaches in 45 seasons as the Browns have had in three. But Haslam has learned that just building his team to the point of stability can be undone with pratfalls and missteps. Do it in an environment of negativity like the one in which the Browns reside, and the team rarely gets the benefit of the doubt. "Listen," Haslam said, "all organizations feel like they're Brandon Finnegan Jersey picked on and that you guys [in the media] are too tough on us. There's times we say that, but I just say, 'There's no sense spending time [on it]; they're going to write what they want to write.' "The best thing we can do is win and build up some equity and capital. Until we win and win consistently, we don't have that." Browns coach Mike Pettine calls Haslam an involved, interested and active owner, but not a meddling one. "It's upsetting to see him get maligned the way he has been when he's been nothing but supportive," Pettine said during the owners meetings. "He wants to know the why. That's one of the reasons why he's gotten to where he is in business. He's very inquisitive." The Haslams' principal residence remains in Knoxville, but http://www.officialastrosshop.com/authentic-27-jose-altuve-jersey.html they have a home in Bratenahl, a village east of Cleveland where the homes sit on Lake Erie and income ranks sixth in Ohio. His Knoxville residence, a historic home built in 1928, sits on the banks of the Tennessee River. It recently was listed for sale with an asking price of $4.9 million (the Haslams purchased it in 1996 for $1.4 million).

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