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Press Conference

Dee and Jimmy Haslam press conference - 7/28

Dee and Jimmy Haslam:

Opening statement:

Dee Haslam: "We are really excited about camp this year. You can tell the excitement here is at an all-time high for us. We have tried to create a really great fan experience. We have had great weather, and we are really pumped about the players that are here and the coaching staff. I think you can feel the energy. We are excited to be here."

On if they are ready to predict a playoff berth as several players Browns have:

Jimmy Haslam: "We would echo (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson's comments. We are excited to see their excitement and their optimism but a long way to go and a lot of work to do."

On WR Josh Gordon:

Jimmy Haslam: "I think it is consistent throughout the organization – (General Manager) John (Dorsey) and (Coach) Hue (Jackson) have answered this question, and Dee and I have talked about it a lot – first of all, we are interested in Josh the person. We respect his privacy, and until Josh gets back to camp, we are going to focus on the players that are here."

On the Browns potentially signing free agent WR Dez Bryant:

Jimmy Haslam: "That is more of a question for John. I think what you see out of John and his group is that they are continually looking to make the team better. We are talking to a lot of people. We are working guys out. We had two guys working out earlier today. We are going to continue to whether it is our ninth offensive linemen or a former star receiver for another team, we are going to continue to look at any and everybody we can to make our team better. I do not think Dee and I will ever comment on individual players we may or not be looking at, but John is working hard to make the team better every single day."

On balancing talent with how a player may impact the culture in the locker room:

Jimmy Haslam: "We talk about that a lot organizationally. John, Hue, Dee, myself, the coaches and some of the personnel groups will have a thorough discussion of players' ability, as well as any off-field issues there may or may not be and how they fit into our chemistry and culture. Between our staff and our personnel group, they know a lot of people throughout the league so I think we can do pretty good background checks. I think you all know and have been around the game a long time, not everybody is as advertised either good nor bad, and it is up to our personnel group' and coaching group to do a good job of checking these players' backgrounds."

On reports that Gordon has to apply for reinstatement to the Browns and receive approval from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell before returning:

Jimmy Haslam: "I really do not want to comment on that. We are focused on hoping Josh gets better and respecting his privacy. At the same time, we have a lot of good football players here that we are anxious to see this afternoon."

On why the Browns haven't reached a breaking point with Gordon:

Jimmy Haslam: "This is a difficult situation. Josh has clearly struggled with addiction – he would tell you that – over a long period of time. I think that we saw a different Josh Gordon here in the spring and during workouts. He is working hard. We are going to continue to work with the person and try to help him out both personally and professionally until it does not make sense."

On how Gordon was different this offseason:

Jimmy Haslam: "I think work ethic, attitude, what he was doing off the field. I think that is actually enough talk on Josh. I know that he is a star player and attracts a lot of attention. On the other hand, we have 90 guys at camp, and I think that we need to focus on them for now."

On challenge to move past losing seasons since purchasing the team and positive buzz about the team this year:

Dee Haslam: "Our fans have been unbelievably supportive. Cleveland is just the greatest town to be in if you are a football organization. We have great, loyal fans. I really believe that there is a lot of energy. It is a really great team that has been assembled. We really have not thought about the past. We have been looking towards the future. It is pretty easy because the excitement that we have here and the players that we have here, and the coaching staff is really excited."

On the Browns stance on the National Anthem and league policies:

Jimmy Haslam: "The league and the players association are looking to come up with a win-win situation. I think that there is cautious optimism on both sides that it will happen. Until that happens, I do not think that we have any comment. I will say this and I know that Dee will want to jump in here, too, that we have learned a tremendous amount during this process. You have all heard us say this before. We have worked very closely with our players. Dee and I have always been involved in the communities. We have been involved in a lot of different ways, but we have become actively involved here in some issues that affected the players. We look forward to continuing to work with our players to make Northeast Ohio, Ohio and hell for that matter, the U.S. a better place to live and work. We are going to focus on that for now."

Dee Haslam: "The players are really active in working on a plan for social justice reform in our area. They want to get out and be volunteers and really dive deep. We have hosted [neighborhood equality and unity] summits. We will continue to work. We focus on what we are doing and the positive impact that we are having. That is really our focus. We are excited about it."

On if there are regrets from NFL ownership that there wasn't more dialogue with the players before the NFL introduced the new National Anthem policy:

Jimmy Haslam: "I can't speak for the other owners, but I think that if Dee and I had any regret – we actually talked to the players about this the other day – that if you will remember when all this came up, our players kneeled down against the Giants in our [second] exhibition game, and we had several players do it. We should have – Dee and I will take responsibility –gotten with our players right away. We waited a couple of weeks. Lesson learned for us, and I would argue for the country, if that does not sound embellished, just sit down and talk it through. Once we sat down around the table, we realized that we had a tremendous amount in common. We always respect our players. I think we came away from that meeting with more respect than we have ever had. Hopefully, they did the same. They are very comfortable with interacting with us in that manner about these issues."

On the players reportedly not being consulted in discussions when the league initially created the policy in May and now the NFL has entered discussions with the NFLPA:

Dee Haslam: "I really think that they are making the proper steps now. I do think that this conversation is going to be productive. It is a good thing that has happened."

Jimmy Haslam: "I think that there is cautious optimism that a win-win will be worked out. We will see what happens here over the next few weeks. In the meantime, there has been so much attention drawn to this. I can tell you that in our building, the guys in our building – whether it be the players, coaches, Dee, myself or the personnel people – our big concern is with how are we going to do from 3-5 p.m. today and how we are going to do from 3-5 p.m. tomorrow. There is very little if any conversation on that. That is what we need to focus on."

On if the Browns will continue to host neighborhood equality and unity summits:

Jimmy Haslam: "Absolutely."

Dee Haslam: "We are excited about that."

On the Browns QBs:

Jimmy Haslam: "I give John and Hue credit. One of the first things that John did, and it mirrors what he did at Kansas City, is he went out and got a veteran quarterback. I think that you all see this because you all are around a lot and interact a lot. We are here a lot, and there is no harder worker on our team than (QB) Tyrod Taylor. I know that we were getting a good football player. I did not understand what kind of a great person we were getting. He alone has set a different tone. You all are at practice – I do not want to jinx it; I will knock on wood – but we are not jumping offside, we get lined up and we are not throwing interceptions. To have him on the team, I think that you have a chance every game. Everybody knows that we were 32nd in offensive turnovers last year, and Tyrod's record in that area is really good. He is a really good athlete and he is a really good person. Having him in the building helps us tremendously and I think that it takes the pressure off of (QB) Baker (Mayfield) and allows Baker to develop. The two of them, I think, have the right relationship. They are both competitors and winners, but they both help each other and work together. We are really excited about the two of them. (QB) Drew Stanton is a guy who has won games in this league. He is helping the both of them if you watch how they talk in the huddle. We have three quarterbacks, two who have won games in the pros. This time last year when we started the season we did not have one guy on the roster who had won games on the roster as a quarterback. This time, we have two who have won games in the pros, and we have one who won a hell of a lot of games in college football. We feel good about where we are."

On what Browns fans can expect this season:

Jimmy Haslam: "You want to take that Dee? (laughter)"

Dee Haslam: "Absolutely. I think you can realistically expect progress. That is what we feel like. We have already made a lot of progress. We realistically feel like we will have progress this year."

On defining what constitutes progress for the Browns this year:

Dee Haslam: "That is hard to define right now – progress. I think that we are going to see a lot of progress among our players. I really do."

On what to expect to see from Jackson this season with more talent on the roster:

Jimmy Haslam: "I think we will see the real Hue Jackson. He has good quarterbacks, he has some skill players, he has a veteran offensive lineman – now, we have to figure out left tackle – and three really good (running) backs and a good defense. I think you have heard me say this a several of times, you have to give Hue credit for bringing in (offensive coordinator) Todd Haley, which I think will allow Hue to be the head coach. I think this will be the first opportunity Hue will have to do what we know he can do as head coach as a leader. Even though Todd will be calling all of the shots on offense, I think Hue will obviously have some impact there like he will defense. We are excited to see it."

On if Jackson is on a short leash:

Jimmy Haslam: "No, we are excited about Hue Jackson. I think our commitment to him has been unwavering and still is."

On if they consider this Hue Jackson's first year or third year coaching, given the situation:

Jimmy Haslam: "That is a good question. I think you could say because in some ways the talent he has had particularly at quarterback, particularly last year, you could view it as his first year. However, we do not look at that. I know everyone is saying, 'Hue has to win this many games or he has to win that many games.' We do not look at it like that. We are really excited about the relationship that Hue and John have, and not just that they have but that their staffs have and how the building is working together. We were in here at 7 a.m. talking about who else we need to add to the roster. We feel good about the chemistry and good about the work ethic, but at the same time, we all understand the end game is you have to win games."

On comparing football operations and personnel with Dorsey to previous years:

Jimmy Haslam: "Everybody has different styles, and we would never say anything about anybody who is not here anymore, you guys know that. I just think we are comfortable with the direction John has taken the team. We are not there yet, and John knows that, Dee and I know that. I want to go back to what was said, I guess the question was about Dez Bryant. They are working hard every day to make us a better team. We will look at any and everybody within reason to try to help us get better. Whether it is the 53rd player or the eighth player, we are going to take a look at them. I give this staff tremendous credit for doing that. They are working people out every day and looking at people all of the time, and that is what you have to do to get better."

On current state of discussions of downtown development and stadium possibilities:

Dee Haslam: "We are continuing that process. There hasn't been a lot of action in the last month or so. I think in the next few weeks, we have some conversations with downtown leaders on kind of the bridge that is connecting the city to the waterfront. I think that is the first issue that we are trying to address is the bridge that everybody is talking about. That is where our focus is right now. We will continue to work with the leadership to find out what the vision for the community is and be very transparent about it. If we know something, we will let you know."

On if the Browns would like the stadium to be modernized or build a new one, as well as the desired location:

Dee Haslam: "I think it makes sense to stay [on the waterfront], but it really does depend on what the community wants. If they want to open the waterfront and they don't want the stadium there, then we have to come up with another solution. I think they do want it there. It is just a matter of connecting downtown to the waterfront. I think it is really important. That is what everybody is focused on."

On the status of the Browns' 2020 NFL Draft bid:

Dee Haslam: "We haven't heard anything. I think we have a meeting again in the next few weeks about that. We haven't heard any updates on that."

On if they worry about how losing is impacting the Browns fan base:

Dee Haslam: "Absolutely, I think you always worry about your fan base. That is one of the things that we talk about a lot is taking care of our fans. I think you worry about your fan base, but this is an unbelievably loyal fan base. The Browns fans are just incredible. We are just kind of overwhelmed with how enthusiastic and loyal they are as a group of people."

On Browns fans experiencing disappointment throughout the process:

Dee Haslam: "That has not been fun for them or us."

On things needing to change quickly for the fans and how that impacted offseason decisions:

Jimmy Haslam: "We are not going to do anything that is going to be a one-year flash in the pan. At the same time, we feel pressure to win. We feel the responsibility that we haven't won before. We feel the fans' pain, too. We feel your pain. Our fans deserve better, and hopefully starting this year, they are going to get it."

On free agent DB Adam Jones trying out for the Browns, specifically in reference to his off-field incidents and Dee Haslam's role on the NFL's conduct committee, and how the team evaluates potentially adding players with off-field issues:

Dee Haslam: "The personnel group sits down, and they are trying to build the best team possible. They spend a lot of time on that, and I am sure that they will ask our opinion or let us weigh in on it, but we really do let the personnel group and the coaching staff come together and make these decisions. It is really important for them to do that."

On if they have ever said no to a potential signing due to off-field issues:

Dee Haslam: "I have not."

Jimmy Haslam: "I don't think so. I don't want to say unequivocally – I am not dodging the question – but I don't think we have."

On if they would potentially ever say no to a potential signing due to off-field issues:

Jimmy Haslam: "Yeah, absolutely, but our group is sensitive. They have been around. They are going to know, 'Hey, we better check with this,' and I think they do it upfront."

On Jimmy Haslam's statement in the past that Hard Knocks could be challenging for a coach and why the timing is right now:

Dee Haslam: "Everybody has to take a turn so we knew we had to take our turn at some time and felt like it was probably our time to do it. It is a very professional group of people who are here. They are very impressive. We hardly see them or pay attention to them. I know they are doing their job. Now that they are here, we are kind of excited about it and think it will be good for Cleveland. I think it will be very good for Cleveland."

Jimmy Haslam: "The other thing is we would not have done it if Hue was not comfortable with it. If Hue had said, 'No, I don't want to do it,' we wouldn't do it. He had that experience in Cincinnati. He was comfortable with it. We are moving forward. So far, it has been zero distraction. That is our main focus is that it doesn't distract the team from getting ready for the season because that is what we are all focused on."

On Executive Vice President JW Johnson joining the Browns organization:

Jimmy Haslam: "JW's background is in TV, TV production and sports production. He has his own production company in Nashville so he is a natural to come in and work with our production people in marketing and sales. We are excited to have he and Whitney and their three kids here. A lot of NFL franchises as you will notice are family businesses. Dee and I both come out of family businesses. He will be here 100 percent of the time. We are here a lot of the time but not all the time as you all know. We think it is a real positive for the organization, and both professionally and personally as grandparents, we are glad to have him and Whitney here. Two of the three [grandchildren] will be at practice today."

Dee Haslam: "That is right. That may be good or not (laughter)."

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