Browns' Dee, Jimmy Haslam Say They 'Didn’t Know What We Were Doing' When Bought Team

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 3, 2022

BEREA, OH - JULY 31: Team owners Dee (L) and Jimmy Haslam of the Cleveland Browns watch practice during Cleveland Browns Training Camp on July 31, 2021 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Dee and Jimmy Haslam faced a steep learning curve when they purchased the Cleveland Browns from Randy Lerner in 2012.

"We did a lousy job at first," Jimmy said, per the Akron Beacon Journal's Nate Ulrich. "I mean, let's just face it. It's probably fair to say we didn't know what we were doing. In some ways, I go, 'Ten years, we haven't won very many games.' So I look at it that way."

He also conceded the experience has been "way harder than we thought."

Prior to taking control of the Browns, the Haslams were minority owners in the Pittsburgh Steelers. While that allowed them to get a good view of how an NFL franchise operated, one look at the divergent fortunes of the Browns and Steelers shows how not all franchises are the same, though.

Cleveland has been a mess almost from the moment it re-entered the NFL in 1999, and the ownership change alone did little to help matters. The Haslams' tenure has included a winless season in 2017, six different permanent head coaches, and the hiring of five different general managers.

Despite suffering a disappointing season in 2021, the Browns do seem to have turned a corner. They reached the AFC divisional round in 2020, and the framing of an 8-9 record this past year is evidence of how the perception toward the organization has changed.