BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Slow the roll on the Peyton Manning is coming to save the Cleveland Browns from themselves rumors.
At least for the moment, because it was not completely ruled out.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was asked Friday during the introduction of new general manager John Dorsey about Manning and the prospects that the former Colts and Broncos quarterback could join the Browns after rumors of a potential marriage surfaced in October.
“If I said I had dinner with him Monday night, would that cause a big ripple,” Haslam said, drawing laughter from the packed room of reporters. “We had dinner Monday night.”
It was a bit of a stunning revelation – for the 10 seconds it took for those words to come out of Haslam’s mouth before he continued and expounded upon the nature of their friendship.
“Peyton and I talk all of the time,” Haslam said. “The majority of the time, we talk about Tennessee and Tennessee football. Do we talk about the NFL some? Yes. Peyton is a very talented individual.”
Manning’s name has been swirling around NFL circles for the past few months as teams – including the Browns – investigate his interest in joining up with a franchise to help run a team. The question remains, what exactly does Manning want to do next. Haslam doesn’t know.
“I do not think he knows exactly what he wants to do with his future,” Haslam said. “Whatever he does, he will be successful. We wish him the best, and we will be close friends. The Haslams and the Mannings have been close friends since Peyton came to Tennessee at 18-years old. That was 22 or 23 years ago. I think that will continue for a long time.”
For now Haslam plans to keep the current structure of the organization in place with Dorsey, head coach Hue Jackson, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta and the remaining department heads within the organization reporting directly to him and Dee Haslam while not ruling out the possibility of adding a president-type to the building.
“Our current plan is to have Hue, John and Paul continue to report to ownership,” Haslam said. “I would never say that we would never do that. That would be irresponsible to do so, but we are comfortable with the alignment, the way it lines but and are excited to get going to work.”