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Training Camp

Jimmy Haslam Press Conference - August 1

Opening statement:
"Good to see you. I am not sure what Pett (Head Coach Mike Pettine) said about practice. I know he was disappointed we have a couple people banged up a little bit, a couple of running backs might be out a little bit. Good effort. It's been good to see everybody hustling around, see the new guys and the second-year guys and also guys like (OL) Alex Mack back out here. I thought it was a good start to the first three days."

On the team's talent level, as well as his excitement and expectations for the season:
"I think we are all excited. I will defer to (General Manager) Ray (Farmer) and Pett about comments on the talent. It looks to me like we have more football players on both offensive lines and defensive lines and all around. We drafted 12 guys, and we have 10 out there. We have some free agents that have a chance. We signed four or five free agents. I think there is no doubt we have a better team. Hopefully, they will gel. We have a challenging schedule as everyone knows, but I'm sure all 32 teams are optimistic today."

On if he knew much about QB Josh McCown before the team signed him:
"I did not."

On his early impressions of McCown:
"I will let Pett, Ray, (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) Flip and (quarterbacks coach) Kevin (O'Connell) talk about the quality of the player. I will tell you this: he is a great person, a great leader, has great character, a very positive, a good guy to be around and a great teammate."

On if this year has been his most relaxed heading into the season:
"Yeah, but I think you are always anxious because I worry about getting better. The first year, we came in the middle of the year so it was a little challenging. I would say the year before last was our first year, and it was a challenge. We got better last year. We went from winning four games to seven games. I can assure you nobody in this building is happy winning seven games, but at the same time, we are realistic that it takes time to build a good football team."

On QB Johnny Manziel and his work this past offseason:
"The coaches are way closer to that than I am. I think we are pleased that Johnny did the things that he should do in the offseason. It was a great improvement over his first year, but anything less would have been totally unacceptable. He is working hard. To play pro football, you have to be a pro, particularly when you play the position he does. He has to work hard every day on and off the field. He is making progress, but he has a long way to go. We are obviously pleased with the offseason."

On if Pettine and Farmer have convinced him that they have a chance to be competitive with the QBs on the roster:
"I think in Josh you have a guy who's played in the league and who is experienced. We are clearly putting together a team that is not totally reliant on great play out of the quarterback. We think we are going to be very competitive this year. Despite what everybody reads and says, we haven't given up on Johnny. We think he has potential to be a good football player. Having the potential to do it and doing it are two different things. I think we have said numerous times that you are not going to win consistently in this league without a good quarterback. We are trying to make that happen."

On Pettine's and Farmer's relationship, considering reports following Farmer's suspension:
"Pett commented on that on Thursday. Ray commented on that on Friday. I don't know what else I need to add. The reports of them not getting along are just totally inaccurate. They work together well. I am with them every day I am here. They work together exceptionally well."

On how important it is this season to have a sense of what they are getting from QB Johnny Manziel:
"Everyone forgets that he is barely 22-years old. He turned 22 in early December. He is still young. I think over the next couple of years, we have to see if Johnny can be a legitimate quarterback or not. I don't want to put too much pressure on him or our coaches to say it has to happen this year."

On where the team stands on potentially moving training camp to Columbus:
"I don't think that has been finalized. (President) Alec Scheiner is continuing to work with the people in Columbus. I think there are some details to work out. We are excited about going down to Columbus and letting our fans in the middle part of our state see a scrimmage. It sounds like we are going to have a great showing of fans on Friday night. We're looking forward to doing that. We'll see if things work out in the future."

On noticing changes in Manziel's personality compared to last year:
"Physically, he looks a lot better. He looks like a pro athlete should. He is clearly engaged this year. I think (quarterback coach) Kevin (O'Connell) in particular is working all four quarterbacks hard, including Johnny. He is clearly engaged this year."

On if he ever takes the time to compare the team when he originally bought it to where it is now:
"I think Pett says it best, 'In this game, you are judged by wins and losses,' and as he says, it is a pass/fail league. I think we came in with three goals. We will save the wins for last. Be a good participant in Northeastern Ohio. With (Owner/President of the Cleveland Browns Foundation) Dee (Haslam) leading the charge, we have done a nice job there. I think we said we wanted to provide our fans with a great experience. We spent $120 million on the stadium  and we are changing uniforms, playing in Columbus and playing in Akron last year. We are doing a lot of things like that. The ultimate goal is wining, and until we consistently win in our division, which everyone knows is a challenge, none of us, including me, are going to be happy. We understand that we have a long way to go there."

On believing he has found the right leadership combination with Pettine and Farmer:
"I do. They are both quality people. They are both smart. They work hard and they work well together. I enjoy working well with both of them."

On his mindset heading into the season in terms of being patient or 'blowing things up' if certain goals aren't reached this year:
"We're not going to blow things up. I think we're on the right track so we're not going to blow things up. I understand why people might ask that after a couple of bumps in the first couple of years, but we are not going to do that. I think we're putting a good foundation in place. The first year we were here, the draft was not what we wanted. I think the second year was better, and a lot depends on how the two first rounder's do, right? If they turn out to be really good players, then we had a tremendous draft last year or two years ago. If one of them makes it, we had a good draft; if neither of them make it; it's ok or just so-so. I think this past year we had a really good draft. We added 12 players, two of them might be redshirts, and we have 11 picks this coming year. If you have that many picks and you pick good talent and can coach them, over a period of time we're going to be successful."

On clarifying if he said the 2014 Draft was tremendous:
"No, I think it depends on how the two first-rounders do. From the second round on, it's pretty hard to argue with (OL Joel) Bitonio, (LB Christian) Kirksey, etc."

On criticism NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has received on Patriots QB Tom Brady's suspension ruling:
"I'm not going to comment on that either way. We have our work cut out for us here, and we need to be focused on making the Cleveland Browns a better football team and as a better organization. "

On how he will assess the team after the season and making a bold statement that he wouldn't 'blow things up':
"I think we have the right people in place to over a period of time be successful. We're clearly focused on doing that."

On his confidence Pettine and Farmer:
"I think I talked about the qualities they have earlier. They're quality people, they're smart, they work hard and they have been around football all of their lives. If I had said this time last year we were going to be 7-9, you all would have said that's pretty good. The problem is we lost our last five and we get that and understand that. We're not pleased with it, and I don't want to say that. At the same time, I think it's unfair to say you have to win X amount of games because injuries happen, schedules are harder, easier than you think. It's a tough league. You have to look at the body of work over a period of time. I feel good about where we are versus two years ago or even a year ago."

On his patience with the QB situation:
"Pett and Ray have said QB is important but you can't put everything on one position. I'm not a football person – I'm a business person – but I think we have better talent than since we got here. We have a lot of young talent. We have some veterans to help teach them how to work, lead and improve the culture like (DB) Donte (Whitner) and (LB) Karlos (Dansby) and some of the guys did last year. I think we have a good blend of experienced people and younger players."

On moving forward from reports of struggles within the front office:
"As you know, I struggle with those comments because they're totally inaccurate and irresponsible. I don't think they were worth commenting on then and I don't think they are now. People who pride themselves on getting it right and holding us accountable, we accept that responsibility. At the same time, they need to hold themselves accountable and make sure what they report is accurate. Some of the comments about people in this building not getting along are just totally inaccurate."

On noticing changes in Farmer after the NFL investigation:
"Ray Farmer is the same all the time. He is totally absorbed with football and absorbed with winning. You all know him well. He's a quality person. He made a mistake. He admitted his mistake and cooperated fully with the league. He regrets it 100 times more than anybody else does, and we're ready to move on. We never talk about it. The only time I ever think about it is when you all ask a question. It's a total non-issue in our building."

On Farmer's cooperation with the investigation affecting his discipline, as per NFL reports:
"I'm not surprised because I know what kind of person Ray Farmer is. "

On QB Johnny Manziel's progress and him having a long way to go:
"If I said that, it's probably inappropriate. Johnny's got to keep working hard off the field and keep working hard on the field. Like I said, he's only 22 years old."

On if having continuity in the Browns organization is one lesson he's learned during his tenure as owner:
"I think there's no question about it. At the same time, it's important to get the right people in the building. Maybe we did or maybe we didn't at first, but I feel good that we have the right people in the building now. "

On when he was convinced he had the right personnel with Farmer and Pettine:
"NFL coaches, one of the things they have to do is get their players to play hard all year. It's a grind. We're here on August 1 and we'll be talking again whenever our last game is January 3 and it'll be cold. That's a long time from now. People get hurt, things happened and you're under a lot of criticism. I think the testimony to Pett is that we go into Baltimore 7-8, (QB) Connor Shaw playing quarterback and a lot of people hurt. We lost the game, but we're ahead 10-6 going into the fourth quarter and the guys played their tails off. I think that's what head coaches have to do, and I think Pett did a great job with that."

On his excitement seeing WR Terrelle Pryor at camp:
"He's a tremendous athlete. Again, Flip or (wide receivers coach) Joker (Phillips) can comment on specifics, but there's no doubt he's a great athlete."

On if Tennessee recruited Pryor:
"They were. They were. I think everybody was, though (laughter)."

On if the coaching staff was 'on trial' during last year's game in Baltimore, even if the Browns lost 40-0:
"No, absolutely not. It wouldn't have mattered. It was the first year. I think the coaching staff did a good job. We made good progress. I think we're on track."

On what other people tell him about Pettine:
"I hear from college coaches, pro coaches, people I know well, people I don't know well. He's highly regarded."


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