Jimmy Haslam III, who agreed to purchase a
controlling interest in the Browns last week, spoke with
the media and greeted fans at the Family Night practice at
Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Jimmy Haslam III, who recently agreed to purchase a
controlling interest in the Cleveland Browns, was at the
team's Family Night practice at Cleveland Browns Stadium
During his time at the practice, Haslam greeted the fans,
posed for photos, signed autographs and spoke with the
media. In short order, Haslam learned about the
importance of winning in Cleveland.
"I was telling some friends back home and they said,
'What were your two main impressions?' I said, 'First of
all, I've never seen people who like football as much as
this community does. Second of all, we need to win.'
That's actually 1 and 1A," Haslam said.
Haslam told the media that the fan response to him and
his family has been "unbelievable" since the announcement
of the sale last week.
"Friday night, Dee and I were staying downtown and went
out to dinner," Haslam said. "It was just people coming
up and shaking hands, so happy and fired up and my main
takeaway is, 'We want to win.' We feel the responsibility
to do that and we're going to work hard to do it."
When Haslam returned to Cleveland for the Family Night
practice, he did not come alone. He was accompanied by
his brother, Tennessee governor, Bill Haslam. Jimmy
Haslam said his brother was "very impressed" with the
excitement around town and atmosphere at Cleveland Browns
"I don't know if he's going to make any comparisons to
any other AFC towns, but he's like, 'You can't help but
be impressed by the fans, right?'" Haslam said of his
brother. "I sent the family a long email when we got back
in town Saturday night and they'll all be here at various
times. They'll be here for all the games and some of the
exhibitions, but you have to be here and experience this
to really get an appreciation for the fans and that's
what happened Thursday night, Friday and Saturday and
certainly happened again today.
"I feel very fortunate this Fan Appreciation Night was
tonight in our first week, where we could come and shake
people's hands, talk to people. It's been a lot of fun.
We've had a chance to meet several hundred people, which
Prior to Wednesday night's practice, Haslam took a tour
of Cleveland Browns Stadium last weekend. He walked
around the facility and is thinking about ways in which
he could improve the stadium experience.
"We spent a couple hours literally walking the stadium,"
Haslam said. "We didn't go out on the field because they
were still fixing it from the Chesney concert. We went in
the locker rooms, sat in the Dawg Pound, walked all
different levels of the seats and got a good feel for it.
Over a period of time, we're going to enhance the
stadium, make it a better place for the fans. It's not
going to happen quickly. Enhancing the stadium takes some
time, but we're committed to doing that for the great
fans in Cleveland."