BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner outlined their vision for moving forward after firing Tom Heckert and Pat Shurmur Monday morning.
They will make hiring their next head coach the top priority, then hire a general manager or pro personnel director.
“Joe and I are going to begin very quickly to look for a new head coach first and then a GM, player-personnel-type second,” Haslam said. “There will be a million rumors out there, you all have done this before, about this person or that person. We’re not going to comment on any people specifically for either of the two searches.”
They decided that hiring the next head coach takes precedence over the next GM or pro personnel director and admitted that will narrow the potential pool of candidates to replace Heckert with.
“We think that the head coach is going to play even a bigger role in where we go from here,” Banner said. “That will create a better situation for us to identify what role the GM, potentially director of player personnel, whichever it ends up being, exactly what qualities do we need in that person so when we fit everybody together we’ve got real strength in every area that we think we need to be strong in.
“The skill set of the coach should drive the eventual structure of the football department.”
Haslam was very specific in describing the type of coach that they are looking to land.
“We want an individual as a head coach who’s a strong leader, who’s tough, because this is a tough business, but also is smart, very organized, has great attention to detail and is aggressive,” Haslam said. “That’s the kind of football team we will have and that’s the kind of individuals we are.”
It is their belief that the next coach will have final say over the 53-man roster but the draft and trades will be a collaborative effort.
As will their search.
“The two of us are going to do this search together,” Haslam said. “We’re both going to agree on who that head coach is. Joe and I are a lot alike, and we’re a lot different. I think we’ll work extremely well together. We’ve been working together for about three months now. Do we get into disputes and arguments? Yeah, but strong personalities always do, but it’s done with respect.”
The Browns will have plenty of competition in the hiring process. 7 head coaches and 5 general mangers were fired on ‘Black Monday.’
“We feel really good about this opportunity here,” Haslam said. “We think we have a good young team in place. As you all have taught me, this is a great football town. We think the person that can come in here and make the Cleveland Browns a winner will be recognized as one of the great coaches of all time, will be beloved in this area so I think we’re confident this is a good situation.
“We’re not going to worry about who else is out there looking for a coach. We have our people in mind and we’re going to work hard to bring the right person here to Cleveland.”
In both Haslam and Banner’s minds the coach comes before the GM or as some might say, the cart before the horse.
“Our focus right now, and I want to say this over and over, is to get the right head coach,” Haslam said. “If we do that, the other will fall into place.”