When it comes to Randy Lerner’s ownership of the Cleveland Browns, just one word comes to mind: disappointment.
Lerner inherited a dream. He was charged with running one of the most storied franchises in the NFL with a seemingly limitless pocketbook.
And yet, fans began to question his interest in the team season after losing season.
Lerner wanted his late father’s beloved Browns to succeed—paying an estimated $57 million for executives not to work for him any longer proves he tried to make things right. It’s just that Lerner never appeared all that into the Browns. His passion was across the pond in a soccer team named Aston Villa FC.
Had the Browns been winners, fans wouldn’t care if Lerner’s passion involved owning disc golf team. In fact, Lerner would be hailed as the model owner.
“He gets out of the way and let’s the football people make the decisions,” national TV pundits would have lauded.
I’ll always believe he tried with the best intentions to make the Browns winner, he just failed in execution.
Nobody thought Romeo Crennel and his fistful of Super Bowl rings was a bad hire.
Everybody thought super scout Phil Savage was the next draft wunderkind.
Eric Mangini was supposed to be the next great young coach.
And hiring Mike Holmgren? Talk about a slam dunk.
But instead of celebrating championships, the Holmgren tenure sums up everything that went wrong for the franchise under Lerner.
Lerner had a credible name, but he came up short of the end zone in making the plan work.
Only Lerner could hire a Super Bowl winning coach and not have him coach the team. Instead, he gave Holmgren the option of roaming the sidelines.
Why would “The Big Show” want to strap on the headset when he could play owner for a reported $40 million?
On paper, Lerner always looked like he had the Browns getting on track. In reality, his botched execution of building a top-flight organization was evident Sunday after losing Sunday.