WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Dee and Jimmy Haslam took the podium next to the practice fields Monday at The Greenbrier after the Browns wrapped up their third day of training camp.
We're breaking down the biggest news items and top nuggets from their media session.
1. Haslams remain 'highly confident' in Kevin Stefanski, Andrew Berry
As the Haslams listened to a question about head coach Kevin Stefanski and GM Andrew Berry entering their fourth year together with the Browns, they couldn't help but smile.
Berry and Stefanski's tenure has featured continuity, which the Haslams have been happy to find after some of the tumultuous coaching and front office eras that preceded them. And even though the results of the past two seasons haven't resulted in the same playoff-level success the team found in 2020, the Haslams are confident in the leadership duo to rekindle that type of success again in 2023.
"We're now entering our fourth year, and that's a positive," Jimmy said. "They have incredibly high expectations of themselves, and I'm comfortable with their expectations. I really am. Those guys are winners. They've been winners before and they expect to do well. Our assistant coaches expect to do well. Our players expect to do well."
Much of those expectations are dependent on a bounceback season from QB Deshaun Watson, whom the Haslams commended for how he handled the 11-game suspension he received last season for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
They also know that Stefanski has been hard at work to elevate the rest of the offense for Watson and create a blueprint for sustainable success, and the Haslams have ample faith in his plan.
"I'm highly confident," Jimmy said. "Being a head coach in the NFL is hard because, generally, you have a specialty, and Kevin's specialty is the offense, quarterbacks, play-calling, etcetera. But you also have to be a leader of men, and I think he's really good at both."
Check out photos of the team during the first day of Training Camp
2. An statement of confidence for new coordinators
In addition to praising Stefanski, Jimmy also made sure to mention his confidence in the two coaches Stefanski added to his staff over the offseason.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone are expected to bring a fresh mindset to their respective units, and Jimmy didn't need to be asked a question about them to dive into why he believes they'll be able to boost the Browns.
"I think Jim Schwartz and Bubba Ventrone are going to be big helps for us," Jimmy said following his initial remarks on Stefanski. "They have great track records, and Bubba was here as a player when we first bought the team. Schwartz has been a head coach and defensive coordinator. I think both of them will help our team a lot."
3. Stadium Updates
Much is still yet to be known about what will happen next as the Browns look to upgrade their current stadium, but the Haslams did make sure at least one point was set in stone as they discussed where they are in that process.
"The only thing Dee and I would say for sure is we're not leaving Northeastern Ohio," Jimmy said. "That's for sure."
The Haslams hope that means they'll be able to keep the stadium on the lakefront, too, which is an area Dee constantly highlighted as an area where Cleveland can blossom if renovations are made to the entire lakefront area — even the spaces that go beyond the Browns' footprint.
"We want to continue having conversations about how we remodel the stadium and stay vibrant on the lakefront," she said. "We think it's really critical for the community. The lakefront is an important process. Outside of us, the lakefront in Cleveland has to be developed. The connection bridge needs to happen regardless of what happens to our stadium."
The Haslams assured that efforts in finding a solution for an upgraded stadium remain high.
"We're working really hard with the city, the county and the state to work out a plan to develop and remodel our stadium on the lakefront," Dee said. 'We're working through it. It's really hard. There's a lot of details, and we look forward to continuing our conversations with the city on how we can develop the lakefront. We think we're an integral part of the lakefront, and we want to be part of the process."
Jimmy also added:
"Our preference is to be on the lakefront, but we've got to see how things play out. It will be fluid, and there will be bumps in the road, and it may be different than it was three months from now, but I'll say this: (Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer) Dave Jenkins and (Chief Administrative Officer & General Counsel) Ted Tywang speak weekly with the county mayor and lieutenant governor. We are all talking to them on a regular basis."
4. Naming rights still to be decided
The Browns are currently set to head into the 2023 season with the home stadium name serving as "Cleveland Browns Stadium," but that won't last forever — the team is working to secure a new naming rights partner.
Who could that be?
"Well, we're going to find out," Jimmy said. 'We're in the market. Dave Jenkins and his team are working on that as we speak. I have no idea how quickly or not so quickly we're going to go, but excited about seeing who our new partner will be."
5. Excitement for HOF weekend
In a couple weeks, the Haslams will be joining the march Browns fans are planning to make to Canton for the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony for Joe Thomas. That special day will take place Aug. 5 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in front of a crowd that will likely be predominantly composed of Browns fans.
"This is obviously well-deserved," Dee said. "He represents our team and was just such a great player, a great man. So we're excited to be part of the festivities and to honor him. He is so excited about it. It's fun to watch somebody be so proud and so excited about it."
The Haslams feel fortunate that many Browns fans won't have to travel far to witness the festivities, and they're also glad the NFL decided to plan a memorial ceremony remembering the life of Jim Brown in Canton on the afternoon before the Hall of Fame Game, which the Browns will play in against the Jets on Aug. 3.
"Jim Brown is definitely the greatest Brown of all time and arguably the greatest NFL [player] to do it in Canton," Jimmy said. "A lot of the Gold Jackets will be there. I think it's appropriate to honor his legacy. It's the NFL, it's the Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Browns doing it. And we're honored to be part of that. It's appropriate to do it that way."