Browns executive vice president Bryan Wiedmeier, who spent more than 35 years working in the NFL and thrived in the background as a leader of teams' business endeavors, passed away today. He was 57.
Wiedmeier, at the age of 54, was diagnosed with Stage Four brain cancer in Oct. 2012. One week later, after undergoing surgery to remove a glioblastoma tumor, Wiedmeier attended a Browns home game against the Chargers and was awarded a game ball from then-coach Pat Shurmur following the 7-6 victory.
Given 15 months to live, Wiedmeier made it nearly four years. In June 2014, nearly two years removed from the surgery, Wiedmeier signed a contract extension with the Browns.
Wiedmeier was a veteran of 35 NFL seasons, 29 with the Dolphins and six with the Browns. He served in a myriad of roles during his tenure with the teams, including Dolphins President and Chief Operating Officer from 2006-08, which followed a four-year stint (2002-05) as Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer. He was the club's Senior Vice President - NFL Affairs and Special Projects before coming to the Browns in 2010.
After joining the Browns organization Jan. 11, 2010, Wiedmeier, who served as one of the team's executive vice presidents, went right to work on the Browns' long-term strategic planning. He held a pivotal role in the $125 million worth of renovations and improvements to FirstEnergy Stadium, which were completed in two phases from 2014 and 2015. Wiedmeier's NFL experience was incorporated throughout each of the project's stages, from conception and design to construction and fan and partner integration.
During his NFL career, which began in 1981, Wiedmeier focused on business operations, football administration and labor. For a majority of his time with the Dolphins, he was the club's primary representative in National Football League affairs, served on a number of NFL committees and was an original member of the NFL Management Council's Working Club Executive Committee.
In Wiedmeier's 29 years with the Dolphins, the team recorded 20 winning seasons and qualified for the playoffs on 14 occasions, including eight division titles and a pair of Super Bowl appearances.
Wiedmeier earned his J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law and was a member of the Florida Bar. He received his B.A. from Carroll College in Montana, which he attended on a football scholarship and served as team captain his senior year. He was the starting center on the school's 1978 undefeated Hall of Fame team.
Wiedmeier is survived by his wife, Mary K., and five children, Lauren, Victoria, John, Danielle and Matthew.
Statement from Cleveland Browns Owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam on Passing of Bryan Wiedmeier
"It's with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of Bryan Wiedmeier. We were very fortunate to have gotten to know him during our time with the Browns. Bryan truly is a special person, exactly the type of person you want in your organization and on a personal level as a friend. He would always put others before himself and we always valued his opinion because of his vast experience in the league. We had the opportunity to spend some time with Bryan and his family last week and were really moved by his spirit at this most difficult time. He loved his family and will be sorely missed. Our sympathy goes out to Mary and his family."