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Hard sell

January 29, 2014 - Mike McLain
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was clearly anxious to meet with reporters after new coach Mike Pettine finished his introductory press conference last Thursday.

It was obvious from the smile on Haslam's face that he was pleased to get "his" man, which wasn't the case a year earlier when the Browns brought Rob Chudzinski on board after failing to land Chip Kelly, who left Oregon for the Philadelphia Eagles. There have been reports that Haslam wasn't sold on Chudzinski, but he was swayed into accepting him because of the lack of other qualified candidates and Chudzinski's ability to bring in defensive coordinator Ray Horton and offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

Haslam appears to be fully in agreement with the decision to hire Pettine, although management also liked Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. If nothing else, there doesn't appear to be any way that Pettine will be one and done.

Beyond being pleased with the choice of Pettine, Haslam wanted to speak to reporters because of his desire to rid the Browns of the image of being a laughingstock. When a member of the public relations staff informed Haslam that he needed to leave because of a scheduled trip, Haslam said he could stay a while longer to plead his case.

That hasn't been the Haslam we've seen since he became owner in late 2012. It was certainly a departure from last season, when Haslam was rarely seen because of legal matters involving his Pilot Flying J enterprise.

Haslam said he doesn't read bloggers or listen to comedians that constantly make fun of the Browns, but he obviously knows what's out there. He retaliates with evidence that other owners have told him what a great franchise the Browns are and that he should be grateful that fans are so concerned.

The fans have been more than concerned; they've been angry. Hiring Pettine probably didn't sit well with them because of their lack of knowledge in the new coach, but that could change if the team plays well.

No coach short of Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden will please the fans. To them, they all look the same and say the same thing. Worse yet, the results are always the same -- more losing seasons.

Haslam can say that other owners envy him for owning the Browns, but that's a hard sell to any fan that keeps close watch on the product each season. The Browns are indeed a joke around the NFL, and there's no cure for the problem other than winning.

As of now there's no indication that Pettine can deliver on that challenge in the near future.



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