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Jimmy Haslam: 'Talk is cheap … we've got to go do it'

PITTSBURGH -- Minutes after the Browns' disappointing 2017 season came to a close, Jimmy Haslam had his eyes on the future.

The Browns owner said he sees better days in the near future for the Browns, who became the second team in NFL history to notch an 0-16 record. The latest and final loss came in all too familiar fashion, as Cleveland let multiple opportunities slip through its grasp in a wild fourth quarter en route to a 28-24 loss to the Steelers.

"I don't think there's a lot to say, I remember standing here approximately last year and apologizing to our fans for the poor job we've done as owners and I would reiterate that again," Haslam said. "Our record is unacceptable and we accept full responsibility for that." 

Haslam reaffirmed his commitment to head into 2018 with the team's recently modified power structure in place. New general manager John Dorsey and coach Hue Jackson "are already off to a good start" and are "working well together," Haslam said.

"I think you could say a lot of things about us this year but down to the last minute, two minutes, our guys play hard," Haslam said. "And I think the primary job of an NFL coach has to do is provide leadership and I think he's provided great leadership.

"If you go back two years ago, I think Hue was one of the hottest assistant coaches out there. And I don't think Hue has lost his magic on how to call plays or how to run an offense or how to coach a team. I think it's our job and John and his group to get him the players to do so."

Jackson is 1-31 in two seasons as the Browns coach. Dorsey, who served as Kansas City's general manager from 2013-17, was hired earlier this month to replace executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown. Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta is "off to a good start" working alongside Dorsey, Haslam said.

"This part of this journey is over with," Jackson said. "The two years of this has been tough. But I think we're at the end of that road. I think our players know it. I think the organization knows it. I know our fans don't. Again, I appreciate our fans being here at this game doing everything they can to help our football team. But at the same time, we have to give back to them. We have to put a better product on the field." 

The Browns' upcoming offseason is a pivotal one.

Cleveland has the salary cap space to be as active as it was in free agency last season and sits with the best position of any team in the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Browns hold the No. 1 pick for the second consecutive year and also have the No. 4 pick, which was acquired from Houston in a trade during the first round of last year's draft. Cleveland also holds two high picks in the second round, giving it four total selections in the top 35, and five overall picks in the first two rounds.

"I think we have the ability or the opportunity to move substantially forward in this offseason for next year and that's what we have to do," Haslam said. "Talk is cheap, so it's one thing for me to say it. We've got to go do it."

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