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Haslam the optimist

July 25, 2013 - Mike McLain
CLEVELAND -- Browns owner James Haslam spoke for about seven minutes with reporters Thursday and expressed optimism that his legal problems won't hinder the product on the field.

Haslam's Pilot Flying J headquarters in Knoxville was raided by the FBI in April. Documents were seized to uncover more evidence of a plot by Pilot Flying J to cheat trucking customers out of promised rebates.

"Our style is to be very transparent,” Haslam said. “When the government investigation began on April 15, one of the first calls we made was to the NFL. We’ve been in constant contact with them. They’ve been supportive in working with us and we’re very optimistic on the outcome.”

Haslam was recently on hand in the Canton area to help open a new Pilot franchise. The opening, along with improvements to the Browns Berea headquarters and planned improvements at First Energy Stadium next year, is proof in Haslam's thinking that his business isn't hurting financially.

Haslam made a strong case for his family's ownership of the Browns into the foreseeable future.

“I said this on August 3. We’re committed to owning the Browns for a long time,” Haslam said. “I understand in Cleveland there’s a great deal of uncertainty because of past history but the fans shouldn’t worry. Our family is going to own this asset for a long time.

“We feel privileged to not just own a NFL franchise, but to own the Cleveland Browns with all the heritage and history it has. There’s absolutely no worry about cash flow, and I think if there was we wouldn’t be doing the things we did at Berea, we wouldn’t have signed the free agents and we wouldn’t be talking about doing the things we plan to do at the stadium.”

Haslam's immediate goals for the Browns are to begin winning more games on a consistent basis and to provide fans with a great experience.


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