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Watch: Browns EVP Football Operations/GM Andrew Berry's introductory press conference

Jimmy Haslam


"Good morning. We began our coaching search on December 30, and as that began to wind down and we narrowed in on selecting (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) as our head coach, we turned our attention to our general manager search. We really followed the same disciplined approach that we did in the coaching search. I think we were very methodical about how we went about things. We made lots of calls and checked lots of references. We had three outstanding candidates, and the candidate that we selected to be our GM is (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew Berry, whom all of you all know. Andrew meets and checks the box of really every criteria that we were looking for. He is very smart. He is tremendously results driven. He has a great work ethic, tremendous integrity and really, despite his young age, a great background in football personnel. He grew up under (Pro Football Hall of Fame GM/executive) Bill Polian. Obviously, he worked here for three years and then went to work in Philadelphia. We are delighted to have him back. Andrew has been in the building for seven or eight days and has already begun to put his mark on the Browns. It has been really refreshing to see how well he and Kevin work together, and not just he and Kevin but how well the coaching staff that we have assembled thus far as well as our personnel groups are working together and obviously with Paul DePodesta. It is our very distinct privilege to introduce the new GM of the Cleveland Browns, the youngest GM in NFL history, Andrew Berry."

Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry

Opening statement:

"Good morning everyone. I am excited to return to Cleveland and lead the Cleveland Browns football operations. My wife and I, we spent three fantastic years here in Cleveland, and living here helped us understand how much this team means to Northeast Ohio. I am honored to be a steward of the organization. I want to say thank you to the Haslam family – Dee, Jimmy, Whitney and JW – for your trust in me and also your passion for bringing a winner to the [state] of Ohio. I also want to say thank to my family who is in attendance today – my wife Brittan; my sons, who you have all heard during Jimmy's opener, Zion and Kairo; my parents Drew and Brenda; my brother Adam; my sister-in-law Amber and my sister Andrea. Thank you guys for loving my unconditionally, supporting me and also keeping me grounded. I want to say a few other thank yous to individuals across the NFL without whom I would not have this opportunity today. Starting in the Indianapolis Colts organization, I want to say thank you to Bill Polian, (former Colts Vice President and General Manager) Chris Polian, (LA Chargers General Manager and former Colts Vice President of Football Operations) Tom Telesco, (Colts Director of Pro Personnel) Kevin Rogers and (Colts Assistant Director of Pro Scouting) John Shaw for giving me my start in the NFL and teaching me the art of scouting. Also with the Colts, I want to say thank you to (former Colts General Manager) Ryan Grigson for giving me my first opportunity to oversee a personnel department. I want to say thank you to (former Colts Vice President of Football Operations) Jimmy Raye (III), one of my closest mentors in the profession, specifically for the impact that he had on me during my last four years in Indianapolis. In the Philadelphia Eagles organization, I want say thank you to (Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager) Howie Roseman for giving me the opportunity to work underneath him, as well as expanding my horizons past just player personnel. I want to say thank you to (Eagles Head Coach) Doug Pederson, (eagles Vice President of Player Personnel) Andy Weidl, (Eagles Vice President of Football Administration) Jake Rosenberg, (Eagles Vice President of Football Operations and Strategy) Alec Halaby and (Eagles Vice President of Football Operations and Compliance) Jon Ferrari for welcoming and embracing me as part of the front office group. I am going to miss working with you guys and laughing with you guys on a daily basis. Lastly, here with the Cleveland Browns, I want say thank you to (former Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations) Sashi Brown and (former Browns General Manager) John Dorsey. Sashi for showing me what true leadership looks like in the face of adversity, as well as his personal investment in my life and career. I also want to say thank you to John for helping refine my own personal scouting process.

"One of the major attractions to returning to Cleveland for me that I have not mentioned already is the opportunity to partner with Kevin Stefanski. Kevin and I got to know each other during last year's coaching search and maintained a genuine friendship from that point in time. I can assure everybody in this room that outside of Kevin's wife, Michelle, there is no bigger believer and supporter of Kevin than me. Kevin and I have a shared vision regarding football philosophy, culture and servant leadership that we think will lead towards success, and that forms the core basis for my excitement for what I know will be a deeper partnership over the next several years. I believe success in the NFL comes from good people, and good people come from all walks of life. It is for that reason that we are going to be very deliberate in pushing diversity across football operations because it leads to success, and I know that I have been the benefactor of people looking beyond my age and my race throughout every phase of my career. The thing is diversity in the NFL transcends race, age and gender. Diversity of experience and diversity of thought are just as important. As I reflect on the five general managers that I have had the privilege of working under, they really all embody this sentiment. Two were scout scout-football guys, two were lawyers by trade that transitioned into football operations through the contract management space and one's early career was really defined by working and coaching at the lower levels in CFL scouting before he ever held a prominent front office position in the NFL. Among these five men, there are nine NFL Executive of the Year awards, two Super Bowl titles, one current Hall of Famer, one future Hall of Famer and a visionary who was probably a few years ahead of his time; yet all of these executives took different perspectives or approaches to building their organizations and their teams. I hope to prove myself as a living mosaic of the characteristics and skillsets of those five executives. In working under those men and seeing the range of their skills and perspectives, it makes me more convinced than ever that will be delivered across football operations in incorporating traditional and innovative measures into our decision making. Now listen – I want to make this very clear because I know a lot has been rumored and said about this topic – we will be a scouting-centered front office because I have always believed and I continue to believe scouting to be the lifeblood of roster building in the NFL. We also are going to incorporate information, research and insights into our decision making. I was thinking about it as we were watching the Super Bowl this past weekend, and the best team in the NFC in the San Francisco 49ers, the best team in our own division the Baltimore Ravens and the best team in the NFC East and the organization that I came from with the Philadelphia Eagles are all industry leaders in this space. We would be silly not to push on every area that can give us a competitive advantage as we make decisions. Lastly and most importantly, I want to be clear that everyone in the organization, starting with the front office, our coaching staff, our support staff and our players, will focus with immediate urgency on the things within their role that drive toward winning. That is the standard by which we are all judged and the standard by which we are all held accountable, and I look forward to working through that challenge on a daily basis beginning today."

On if he received a parking space upgrade with his return to Cleveland:

"No, same position (laughter). Same position."

On returning to Cleveland and confidence he and Stefanski can create stability and continuity with the Browns:

"It is a great question. What makes me confident is just how aligned we are, our shared vision with football, with culture and with servant leadership. Look, success is never guaranteed, but what I can say is we are going to work together, we are going to work hard and we are going to work collaboratively across football operations and our coaching staff as we strive to turn this thing around and develop sustained success."

On defining the Browns' shared vision:

"I guess to start, vision encompasses a couple of different areas – one, how we are actually going to build the team and play the game. Kevin for instance on the offensive side of the ball has talked about his belief in the marriage of the run game and the passing game, how we are going to be quarterback friendly and how we are going to emphasize positions across the roster that really impact the passing game. From a cultural standpoint, you have all heard this idea of collaboration and making sure that we get the best ideas and the best perspectives as we make any major decision, whether it is on the roster, on the field or across football operations so that we can ensure that we are driving the organization towards excellence. Then the other piece is how we actually behave and how we treat one another not just at the senior levels but the staffs below us and making sure that we are working cooperatively, we are working progressively and most importantly, we are working hard on a daily basis."

On if being a NFL GM was a goal when leaving the Browns to join the Eagles:

"When I left a year ago, that was not necessarily the focus of that decision. I really saw it as an opportunity to work with who I believe is the best general manager in this sport in Howie Roseman, somebody who has such a broad skillset and have a chance to take a step forward in my own career and broaden my own horizons. I was not really necessarily focused on a race to the top, so to speak. I think that just really happened to play out the way it has over the past year."

On assessing the Browns roster:

"I start by saying is No. 1, any roster assessment should incorporate a number of different perspectives. I certainly have my own view. I think it is important to incorporate our pro personnel staff who are still building a coaching staff, and I think it is important to get their perspective on our players and their fit within our offensive and defensive systems. Look, the roster, there are definitely a lot of young core pieces at key spots. We certainly have a very strong foundation upon which to build, but that does not mean that we do not have work to do and that does not mean that we are not going to add competition and talent really across every position."

On his response to critics that cite his involvement with a Browns era that finished 1-31 over two seasons:

"I certainly understand that question. The reality of it is, that stretch is a very painful period for our fans, for the city and for everybody internally in the organization. I can assure you that all of us that were there during that time period were equally disappointed with the results during that time. Now, the one thing I can say is that the team and the organization is at a much different state than it was heading into that 2016 season, whether it was the foundation of the roster or the overall strategy. There is no secret that the strategy at the time was to accumulate assets, whether it was cap space, picks and players, that would lead to a foundation of long-term success, but I can assure you that winning is at the forefront of everyone's minds in the organization. We are looking forward to pursuing that over the next several months."

On his role in the 2017 draft and the Browns selecting WR Corey Coleman and not picking Texans QB Deshaun Watson:

"I am not going to go into any specific player decisions, but what I can say is even during that time period, it was a collaborative environment with the aim of getting the best information on the table. Being among the senior leaders in that group, just as you may share some credit with some of the successes, you also have to share some culpability with things that do not go as well, and that is not something that I am going to hide from or run from, but I am looking forward to certainly establishing my own track record as the primary decision maker moving forward."

On his evaluation of QB Baker Mayfield in 2018:

"Obviously, I was a part of drafting Baker in 2018. I can tell you there was kind of an organizational consensus with selecting him with the first overall pick. Still have a lot of belief in Baker as a quarterback, his talent and what we think he can become in the NFL. Looking forward to seeing what Kevin, (offensive coordinator) Alex (Van Pelt) and his staff do with Baker this spring and into the fall. We are really excited about his future, and I am really excited about the work that Kevin is going to do with him."

On if he can address if the Browns 'tanked and tried to lose games' while he was in Cleveland, when the team was looking to accumulate resources:

"I understand the question. Winning is always important. Winning was important then. It is important now. It will always be important. The strategy, the state of the team was at much different state, and certainly accumulating resources and accumulating assets was certainly part of the approach, but winning was also still a focus. As I mentioned earlier, we were all internally disappointed with the results during that time period."

On the plans for completing the player personnel staff, particularly given the departure of Alonzo Highsmith, Steve Malin and Eliot Wolf:

"With those three guys, all three different situations. Really thankful for the contributions that they have made to the organization. I am not going to get into any specifics regarding staffing dynamics at this point. We have a lot of really talented people and talented evaluators that are already in the building, and we will revisit that over the next couple of months and certainly after the draft."

On if he feels a need to replace all of those former personnel staff members prior to the draft:

"No, I think we have a lot of really talented people in the building at this time already."

On how his structure will be different compared to under Brown's tenure as Browns GM and others:

"I guess I will start with the similarities of we are always going to look to bring the ideas and best perspectives to table. We want a group that has a diversity of thought as we attack some of these really challenging problems, whether they are player decisions, trade decisions or you name it. Listen, in terms of differences, obviously, we have a much different staff within player personnel and within coaching. Developing those relationships with Kevin and our scouts, that is going to look different than if you have a past general manager, but the one thing that I can say will carry over is collaboration and making sure that we have diversity in perspective when we are in the room making those decisions."

On what he learned from his year in Philadelphia:

"I learned a lot. I will just talk about three main lessons from my perspective. No. 1 is pushing on any avenue – whether it is any avenue of player acquisition or any avenue across football operations – to give ourselves a competitive advantage. We are not going to be defined by one approach or one area. Anywhere that we can gain an advantage on our competitors, we are going to really put the pedal to the floor. Secondly, the importance of being deliberate in building the team and having the right 53 and the right mix of not only people but skillsets on the roster as opposed to just purely collecting talent. The third piece is the focus on making sure that as a front office we do a really great job of getting to know our players in our locker room at a personal level. I think that is something that is done very, very well in Philadelphia, and it is one of those things that really creates a tight-knit family culture that helps you navigate through those stretches of adversity."

On the team's priority positions when evaluating the roster, given past Browns GMs were tasked with finding a QB and the team now has QB Baker Mayfield:

"That is an excellent question. The way I am going to answer it is it still is early. We are still getting through all the internal evaluations with our pro staff and with our coaching staff. Quite generally, we are going to attack every area of the roster that we can in terms of adding talent and competition. I do not know if that would be quite fair to characterize it as a priority one, priority two, priority three. We want to aggressively add talent."

On if he gets chills when hearing people say he is the youngest GM in NFL history:

"To be quite candid,I really have not thought much about it. My focus has really been on winning and doing the things within my role to make sure that we are doing everything possible to get this organization turned around. Quite candidly,that really does not mean anything unless we ultimately have success as a group."

On who he leans on when looking for advice and facing a situation he has not previously experienced:

"I would just say broadly across our personnel, we have a lot of people with good experience and talented executives and scouts. I feel really good about the mix that we currently have in place."

On if his dad has given him any great advice on how to deal with the media:

"I will tell you what, he probably gives me more advice for player selection than he does for press conferences (laughter). He has always said be honest and be direct. I can assure that I will have plenty of opinions from him once we get to April."

On if he has met with WR Odell Beckham Jr. and RB Kareem Hunt:

"Actually, Kevin and I have met with both and talked with both individuals. Obviously with Kareem, we have communicated our expectations for him moving forward. We want guys who are going to be smart, tough and accountable both on and off the field. Kareem understands that, and we are looking forward to him meshing with our culture moving forward. In terms of Odell, both of us have had really good conversation. He is one of the most talented receivers in the league, and we are certainly happy to have him here. Everybody is going to have to fit into our culture in terms of being smart, tough and accountable, and both of those guys know that."

On if the culture includes players being present at voluntary OTAs:

"Listen, that is [voluntary] by league rules. I think Kevin has answered this earlier. That is optional. Obviously, the more time that guys can spend with their teammates, we certainly like that, but we are not going to hold that against any individual because that is their right. That is the off season, and it is optional."

On creating a culture and environment of cooperation and alignment:

"Those are just words on a page unless Kevin and I drive that down with our staffs and across football operations. We are not naïve to the fact that we have to execute on that vision. It can't just be corporate speak or talk. It has to be something that we demonstrate in action on a daily basis. We understand that is part of our responsibilities, and that is something we are going to work together to do every day."

On how much different the Browns scouting center will be from his previous tenure with the team:

"Listen, I think it is probably a bit of a misconception being here the first time that scouting was not valued. I take exception to that. I think Sashi was actually one of the strongest proponents of scouts. I think it is probably unfair of me to give an idea of how that shifts, but we are certainly going to have a strong focus on it."

On how he wants the scouting center to operate:

"The scouting center, we are really going to evaluate the opinions of our experts who go on the road on the college side and who know the NFL, know the league on the pro side. They are going to carry a very, very heavy weight in how we make player decisions. It is as simple as that."

On if he is surprised with how quickly he was named GM, given he is 32 years old, and when he felt he was ready for that role:

"I feel fortunate that throughout my career I have worked for individuals that have given me a lot of responsibility at a very early age. It started with Ryan (Grigson), then to Sashi (Brown) and then Howie (Roseman). Form those experiences, I certainly felt like I was able to acquire skills maybe earlier than my peers across the league. The reality is there is going to be some growing on the job, right? First time general manager, nobody is going to be perfect, but I feel very, very prepared for the role, and I am looking forward to having the opportunity to execute."

On his philosophy on free agency, given some GMs are more aggressive and some are more conservative:

"If we go back a little bit to what I talked about earlier, we are not going to limit ourselves to one method of player acquisition. If we can be targeted and strategic on the free agent market, we are going to be aggressive there. If there is anything that I want to be defined by, it is aggression. We want to aggressively acquire talent because that is the name of the game from an NFL front office perspective, and we are going to explore every avenue that enables us to do that."

On what he has done in his first week as GM of the Cleveland Browns:

"The past week, a big part of what we have done is really creating a vision and a standard way to operate within football operations and within player personnel. I think that is so important so before we go off sprinting during this offseason, we are all moving in the same direction and operating in the ideal way."

On what it means to him and his family to be one of few minority GMs in the NFL and the number of minority GMs/head coaches hired in recent years and how to improve it:

"It is a good question. I do consider it a great honor and I am thankful to many of the African-American general managers that came before me, whether it is (former Ravens General Manager and Pro Football Hall of Fame TE) Ozzie (Newsome), (former Texans General Manager) Rick (Smith), Sashi or (former Browns General Manager) Ray (Farmer). It is an incredible honor. In terms of what can be done and what can be promoted, I think that part of this is exposure. There are tons of talented executives across the NFL that fit different demographic profiles, whether it is age or race or quite honestly even for gender at this point in time. I think certainly part of it is just increasing awareness because listen, there are a ton of talented executives across the league already."

On describing his risk tolerance for acquiring players who are talented with off-field incidents:

"Listen, there is no perfect person and there is not perfect player, but I have mentioned this a couple times and you will probably get sick of me saying it, you will probably get sick of Kevin saying it but smart, tough, and accountable, and that accountability is on the field, in the building and off the field. That is really our profile."

On the experiences and lessons learned during his time with the Eagles that can make a difference:

"Yeah, I think I touched on this a little bit earlier, but those are really the three main things – getting to know our locker room aggressively and making sure we develop those personal relationships with our players."

On if he feels there is a greater importance on the relationships with players now than in the past:

"Yes, certainly. We are going to be aggressive there"

On if he has any reason to believe DE Myles Garrett will be reinstated prior to the beginning of the 2020 season:

"Certainly, our hope is for Myles to be reinstated. Obviously, I was part of drafting him here previously. Obviously, this fall he made a huge mistake, but we know who Myles is a person and we look forward to welcoming him back."

On what sparked the strong relationship between Stefanski and him last year:

"Honestly, I think part of it just comes from developing a friendship that is even just outside of football or outside of any type of working dynamic and then as you get to know people more and understanding that you view football and culture similarly, it just kind of strengthens that bond. That is just something that has grown over time, it will continue to grow over time and I am really, really looking forward to partnering with him."

On if the 53-man roster and draft selections are his responsibility or if that will be a collaborative effort:

"Listen, every big decision is going to be collaborative. Everywhere that I have been that has been successful has incorporated perspectives across football operations and certainly with your coaching staff and making sure the payers that we bring in have the skillsets and have the fits needed to execute the offensive and defensive systems that we are going to run. Final authority is less important. All of those are really collaborative decisions, and I intend for them to be that way here."

On the status of negotiations with pending Browns free agents:

"In this setting, I would not share the specifics of any player negotiations or player agent discussions. That is something that we are going work through over the next several weeks. Part of it is certainly continuing to get input from our pro personnel staff and part of it is again, getting input from our incoming coaching staff, as well, before we head off sprinting in any direction in terms of free agents."

On if it helps that he was previously with the team when considering negotiations with pending free agents like WR Rashard Higgins and LB Joe Schobert:

"The way I look at the roster, they are all Browns. All of our players are Browns. It is not about how they were acquired, who drafted them or who signed them. They are all Browns, and we intend to embrace all of our players that way. It is not a 'my guy' or 'his guy.' I want great players that fit the profile that we need on the field and the great players that will fit the profile of what we want off the field."

On his relationship with Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta and how DePodesta, Stefanski and he can work together:

"That is a great question. Coming back and having the opportunity to work with Paul, Paul is incredibly intelligent, he has a wealth of executive experience, he is a great strategic and thought partner and most importantly, high integrity and a great guy. I am looking forward to working with him again. Listen, you can never have enough great people in your organization and you can never have enough great people in your football operation, and I know that I have two of the best working with me today."