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Browns focus on building championship team

Posted Dec 31, 2012

On Monday, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner spoke on the importance of building a consistent, championship-level team.

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner have a shared vision for the future of the franchise: to build a championship-caliber team that is consistently playing in the postseason.

During a joint news conference, Haslam and Banner cited that vision as a main reason for relieving coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert of their duties on Monday morning.

“Our goal is to build a consistent championship-level team,” Haslam said. “We have two role models in our division that have been good consistently for a long period of time. Our goal is to be good for a long period of time, not to knee-jerk and get to where we’re 9-7 next year and we feel good, but we all know it’s built on a house of sand. There’s nobody that wants to have a winning team more than the two of us. We’re going to do it the right way and we’re going to build it in the right way. We’ve got the core foundation with some good, young players. We’ve got to add to it.”

Banner added, “We just felt like, in terms of the ultimate goals that we have as we look down the road, that a change gave us the best chance to do that. That wasn’t an easy decision. Time will tell whether it was the right decision.”

Haslam and Banner said they will first look to fill the head-coaching vacancy and, then find either a general manager or player-personnel director that works in tandem with the coach in building the team to a championship level.

“We think the head coach is going to play even a bigger role in where we go from here and that it will create a better situation for us to identify what role (with) the GM, potentially director of player personnel, exactly what qualities we need in that person so that when we fit everyone together that we have real strength in every area that we think we need to be strong in,” Banner said.

When asked about a timetable for the new hirings, Haslam said “the sooner, the better.” However, Haslam said it was important for the franchise that he and Banner find the right person, one who displays “strong leadership.”

“The goal is to bring back the best possible person to be the head coach of the Cleveland Browns,” Haslam said. “The key is to get it right over a long period of time where people expect the Cleveland Browns to be in the playoffs every year. We want to still be preparing for games in January, not packing up and sending everybody home. That’s the goal, to do it that way.

“If we happen to find the right person this week, we’ll have him back in here in a week. If it takes a month, we’re going to take a month because we’re very sensitive to getting this right. We were associated with the Steelers and what did they have, three coaches in 30 years. Joe came from the Eagles. They’re making a change today, but they’ve had tremendous stability. The organization that I’m a part of on a day-to-day basis, Pilot Flying J, we have tremendous stability. We want to have that here.”