Players react to ownership change

Posted Oct 16, 2012

Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and quarterback Brandon Weeden expressed their support of the new owner, Jimmy Haslam, who was approved at the NFL Owners’ Meetings in Chicago.

In the midst of preparing for this week’s game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium following their home win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and quarterback Brandon Weeden spoke to the Cleveland media on conference calls Monday in Berea and were asked about the change in ownership from Randy Lerner to Jimmy Haslam.

Haslam’s purchase of a controlling interest in the Browns was approved at the 2012 NFL Fall Owners’ Meetings in Chicago on Tuesday.

Jackson said Haslam has “been around” and sees his presence around the team as a positive moving forward.

“You could tell he’s a fan,” Jackson said. “You could tell he wants to be successful and I have a good feeling when they actually vote to make him the outright owner, I think things are going to change for the better.”

Haslam built his family’s business, Pilot Corporation, into an international company with its 600 travel centers and plazas in 43 states and six Canadian provinces. Pilot Flying J currently employs more than 25,000 people. Haslam’s influence on Pilot Flying J becoming a company that sells approximately eight billion gallons of gas each year is a positive in the eyes of Weeden.

“I’ve talked to him quite a few times,” Weeden said. “He’s an outstanding guy, is a first-class guy and I think everybody’s really excited about him taking over. He’s a very excited guy and he loves football. He’s a good guy to have on our side.”

Jackson has been in Cleveland since the Browns selected him in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft and recently signed a long-term contract during the 2012 offseason. Lerner was present at the press conference to announce Jackson’s deal with the team.

“When he was around, he respected all of us,” Jackson said of Lerner. “I felt a relationship with him and his kids and I wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

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