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August 3, 2012 - Mike McLain
BEREA -- New Browns owner James Haslam III staged an impressive showing in his introductory press conference Friday.
Haslam, who's purchasing the Browns for slightly more than $1 billion, stood up throughout the 20-minute conference. He addressd the concern of all fans in his opening ststement when he said the Browns won't be moved. Later he revealed plans to sit in the stands for the first game to get a feel for the fan experience.
Something else that will play well with fans was his reference to the Pittsburgh Steelers as that other team. Haslam is a minority owner of the Steelers. He will share his share before the deal of the Browns if finalized by approval of the NFL owners.
Because Randy Lerner is still officially the majority owner, Haslam politely refused to answer questions about the futures of team president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert. He also wouldn't confirm reports that former Philadelphia Eagles president Joe Banner will be an investor and president. Haslam spok highly of Holmgren, who introduced Haslam and sat to the new owner's left thoughtout the conference.
Haslam came across as passionate and totally committed to producing a winning football team. Coming across as a modern-day capitalist, he said that we live in a marketing world when asked if the Browns will allow naming rights for the stadium and have a new look for the uniforms. There will be naming rights, which will bring in millions in annual revenue, but he wouldn't say that the traditional uniform will be changed.
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