It's official—Jimmy Haslam is the new owner of the Cleveland Browns.
Jason La Canfora of CBS has the news:
NFL announces unanimous approval of Jimmy Haslam as new owner of the Browns— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 16, 2012
UPDATE: Tuesday, October 16 at 11:50 a.m. ET by Timothy Rapp
Haslam has wasted little time in making his first organizational change, albeit one expected in NFL circles. ESPN's Ed Werder (via NFL on ESPN) has the news:
Our @edwerderespn reports New Browns owner Jimmy Haslem will name Joe Banner CEO/president and Mike Holmgren will depart the organization— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 16, 2012
I wouldn't expect any other changes during the season. Still, don't be shocked if there is a resetting of the organization after this year concludes.
---End of Update---
Interestingly enough, Haslam comes over from the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was a minority partner under owner Art Rooney. Technically, Haslam still owns a percentage of the Steelers, but according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer, he and the NFL have worked out a solution to those conflicting interests:
The only question might be about the dual ownership he'll hold in the Browns and Steelers for a few months. Haslam is trying to sell his Steelers stock to existing owners.
"There will be [overlap] but we've sort of worked it out with the finance committee and the commissioner [Roger Goodell], where Jimmy won't have access to Steelers information during this time," said Rooney. "It won't be a problem, but will it take a few months."
As Cabot reported, prior owner Randy Lerner will keep a 30 percent share in the team.
Haslam will now be tasked with turning around an organization that hasn't had a winning record since 2007 and hasn't made the playoffs since 2002. It's been a long, hard road for one of the NFL's finest fanbases since the team was brought back to the NFL in 1999.
Whatever the changes may be under Haslam—many of which we won't know until the current season ends—Cleveland fans should be excited. It's a new day, and Haslam seems like an energetic, forward-thinking owner who will look to build a winning organization in Cleveland once again.
It's what the fans deserve. I'm guessing they'll forgive him for his years associated with the hated Steelers.
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