New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam sat down for a one-on-one interview with The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot on Thursday night and answered an array of questions about the future of Cleveland's most beloved sports team. One of the first things Haslam addressed with Cabot was the topic of moving the Browns out of Cleveland. As expected, he's here to quell any fears:
"We're not moving the Cleveland Browns," said Haslam, who arrived in town Thursday night. "To own a team with a such a rich tradition and history is a dream come true. Randy had four things he wanted and I won't share all of them, but No. 1 was we keep them in Cleveland. Why would we move? I've been to three games there on the other side of the field and I've seen the intensity and the enthusiasm. That thought never, ever entered our minds."
Haslam was planning to have dinner with club president Mike Holmgren on Thursday night and while there are rampant reports that Joe Banner is coming to town, the new Browns owner said he's entering the situation with an "open mind" about everyone. Haslam told Cabot he will be buying a home in the area and establishing roots in the community, but that he'll keep his primary residence in Knoxville.
Lastly, Haslam cleared up the issue of Lerner controlling a 30 percent ownership stake. The truck-stop magnate indicated that he will buy out the remaining portion over time as a part of the deal -- a figure reported in the area of $300 million.
Haslam is on the practice field this morning watching his new team and he'll be introduced at a 1 p.m. press conference in Berea.