The Sports Business Journal has named Cleveland Browns Executive Vice President/General Counsel Sashi Brown to its prestigious Forty under 40 list.
Brown, 38, arrived in Cleveland in January 2013, after serving as the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2006-2012.
With the Browns and around the NFL, Brown is known as a master with the salary cap, but it's his wider scope that has him earning national recognition. Brown does everything from negotiating player contracts to allocating funding on the stadium renovations, media and sponsorship deals.
This past February, Brown participated in the Browns' leadership retreat. Alongside owner Jimmy Haslam, general manager Ray Farmer, coach Mike Pettine and president Alec Scheiner, the group met off-site to discuss the future of the organization.
"A challenge for NFL teams has been finding people that can bridge the gaps between business and football operations," Brown said of his role in Cleveland. "Finding synergies and ways to work with people on both sides are unique and can provide tremendous value.
"Just having the opportunity to work with both sides of the organization is outstanding from my standpoint. Personally, it can be challenging. But organizationally it has a tremendous amount of upside for the Browns as we move forward – to make sure we are a collaborative group across the organization."
Immediately after graduating with a Harvard Law degree in 2002, Brown found himself at the Wilmer-Cutler-Pickering law firm in Washington D.C., where his boss was Dick Cass – now the president of the Baltimore Ravens. Cass taught Brown the complexities of cutting deals and negotiating.
Alongside Brown was another young pup of a lawyer, Scheiner. The two bonded instantly as they worked on venture capital and private equity deals and have remained close ever since.
Other people Brown has confided in during his career include Jaguars owners Shahid Kahn (current), Wayne Weaver (past), NBA deputy commissioner and COO Mark Tatum and football people, too, such as Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, Farmer and Pettine.
Throughout his years in sports, Brown said it would be hard to pinpoint a specific deal that's his crown jewel, but in particular it's his two years in Cleveland that elicits the most pride.
"I know there's been some negative publicity, but the reality is we were a very, very competitive team in the division last year," Brown said over the phone while he attended the Sports Business Journal banquet in Los Angeles. "We are improving the roster. We've renovated the stadium. We've really transformed our game day experience with VP Kevin Griffin at the helm of that. We've taken the franchise in a lot of positive directions.
"And it's truly a privilege to work for a team in the league."
Brown joins Scheiner and Executive Vice President/Chief Revenue Officer Brent Stehlik as three members of the Browns organizations who have been named to the Sports Business Journal's annual list.
A look at Browns uniforms, from the franchise's inception to current-day.