Sashi Brown has been named the Browns’ executive vice president of football operations and will be a main part of the team’s four-person committee to find a new head coach.
Brown will join owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam and Jed Hughes of the international consulting firm Korn Ferry in the search, which has commenced immediately following Sunday’s removal of Mike Pettine from the position.
The Browns will hire a coach first and then follow with the hiring of a general manager to replace Ray Farmer. The coach will be involved in the search for the general manager, who will be in charge of the Browns’ scouting department. Brown will work together with the new general manager to make the best possible decisions on the makeup of the Browns’ 53-man roster.
“Sashi, I believe is the right person to do this for the Cleveland Browns,” Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said at a Sunday news conference. “He’s been in the NFL for 10 plus years, has been involved in the cap, has been heavily involved in our football administration and operations for the last year or two. He’s very smart, very organized, good at systems and processes and an outstanding team player. He’s also very strategic, so we will use those skills and working for him will be a GM whose primary job will be talent acquisition.”
Brown has been with the Browns since January 2013 serving as the team’s executive vice president-general counsel. He spent the previous eight years with the Jacksonville Jaguars as the team’s general counsel. In March, Brown, a Boston native and Harvard Law graduate, was named to Sports Business Journal’s “Forty under 40” list.
“If you look at the Cleveland Browns and this is prior to our arrival and during the time period we’ve been involved with the team, we have not been good at talent acquisition and if you look at the teams that are successful, they’re very good at talent acquisition,” Haslam said. “That’s something that we have to get right and we think this set-up with somebody with a background in systems, processes, analytics and very strategic married up with a football person, if you will, who is very good at talent evaluation will hopefully put us in a position to win a lot more games than we have in the past.”
As he prepared to implement this structure for the Browns’ front office moving forward, Haslam looked at what the league’s premier teams have utilized during their years of success. He saw the Patriots, Packers and Seahawks thrive with different structures in place.
Each group found success because of the quality of people who were put in their respective roles and how they worked together, regardless of structure. Haslam expects more harmony with this set-up, and it starts with Brown in his new role.
“I think there’s an opportunity for us to work much closer together going forward than we have in the past,” Haslam said.