Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The fan) - Mike Holmgren confirmed what was known 5.5 hours earlier – Randy Lerner has agreed to sell controlling interest in the Browns to Jimmy Haslam III.
Now the question is, will he remain as the team president?
“I hope to,” Holmgren said. “But we’ll see. I’ve been in this business a long time and we’ll just see how that goes but right now [speculation about his future] would be premature.”
It’s been widely reported that former Eagles president Joe Banner helped put together Haslam’s bid for the Browns and will be a part of the ownership group.
That part Holmgren could not confirm.
“I don’t know that,” Holmgren said. “I really don’t know that. That conversation has not taken place.”
If Banner is part of Haslam’s group, it’s not likely that Holmgren’s services will be needed much longer.
“I can’t talk about it, really,” Holmgren said. “The ‘what if’s and the hypothetical’s, I really have to stay away from right now.
“Our focus is on the team and I look very much forward to talking to Mr. Haslam.”
Lerner did not offer any reassurances about his long term future according to Holmgren either.
“We’re not dealing with hypotheticals and we never did in our relationship,” Holmgren said. “We’re taking it a day at a time, and following league protocols. The owners have to vote on this. So there is a time factor with this, and in the meantime we’re just going to try and get this team ready to play as best we can. Pat [Shurmur] and those guys are doing a heck of a job. We’re having a great camp so far.”
This is the third season of a 5-year contract for Holmgren which he signed in January of 2010 after agreeing to take the job a month earlier.
As for whether or not he and Banner could co-exist, Holmgren responded, “I’m not going to go there right now.”
Holmgren is familiar with Banner and his resume.
“He worked along with [Eagles owner] Jeffrey Lurie, who I respect tremendously, and of course Andy Reid, who worked for me for a while,” Holmgren said. “So yeah, I’ve known Joe for a long time.”
Haslam spoke to Holmgren Wednesday evening but the two have yet to meet in person.
They will Friday.
Haslam will watch the team practice before being introduced to the media Friday afternoon.
Even with his future in serious doubt, Holmgren kept his thoughts positive and on the upcoming season.
“Right now, honestly, the focus is on these guys and getting the football team ready,” Holmgren said. “We’re all excited about the possibilities for this year and trying to keep it as best we can business as usual around here.”