2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Haslam returns to Browns facility, preps for draft

    2013-04-18 16:31

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III joined his football operations staff at work Thursday as they prepared for their first draft with the franchise.

Haslam, who purchased the Browns for $1.05 billion last October, arrived in Cleveland three days after FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents executed four search warrants at his Pilot Flying J company headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn.

Haslam is the CEO of Pilot Flying J, as well as the ultimate decision-maker with the Browns, who have the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft. He was not made available to the media, but Browns CEO Joe Banner said Haslam jumped right back into his football job.

``This is the first year Jimmy has really owned the team and has the chance to put his imprint on it, so I think he's excited in general,'' Banner said. ``We're glad to have him here. He asks good questions. He's a good asset to have as an owner.

``Jimmy isn't in there, watching film (of potential draft picks), but he's very involved with our entire process.''

At a Tuesday press conference in Knoxville, Haslam revealed the government is investigating rebates offered by the truck stop chain, but said, ``We believe we did nothing wrong.'' His family - including his brother, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam - owns 59 percent of the business.

Haslam added that he has not been subpoenaed and no Pilot Flying J employees have been arrested, but subpoenas were issued to several members of the company's 23-person sales force.

``Jimmy made a statement about that the other day, and there's not much I can add to it,'' Banner said. ``Everything I can and want to say about this, I already have. I can tell you that the Browns' operations are the same as they've always been.''

Haslam's visit coincided with the third and final day of Cleveland's first voluntary minicamp under new coach Rob Chudzinski. Banner, a former Philadelphia Eagles executive, and general manager Michael Lombardi also are in their initial season with the Browns, who went 5-11 last year and have not made the playoffs since 2002.

``Jimmy has said it himself, he's an impatient person,'' Banner said. ``He's going through the same thing we're all going through, trying to balance the need to win now with our plan of building a team that can sustain long-term success. We don't want to have a team that makes the playoffs once, then falls back out of contention for a number of years.''

The first step toward Cleveland achieving that goal is the draft, which takes place next week. Lombardi indicated the Browns' top priorities are a pass rusher and a cornerback, but would not rule out picking a quarterback to compete with incumbent Brandon Weeden and recent signee Jason Campbell.

``It certainly is all about fit,'' said Lombardi, who previously worked with Banner in Philadelphia and spent the last five seasons as an NFL Network analyst. ``Like every year, there are some quarterbacks that do some positive things, but it comes down to terms of value with the pick.''

Assistant general manager Ray Farmer and Chudzinski will be seated with Haslam, Banner and Lombardi at the head table in Cleveland's draft room. None were part of the organization at this time last year, when team president Mike Holmgren, general manager Tom Heckert Jr., and coach Pat Shurmur ran the process for then-owner Randy Lerner.

``Joe and I have sat in the room before,'' Lombardi said. ``It's football. It's just football. Coach Chud has handled that, and (Joe) has handled it, as well. You have to work out every player in the draft and you better know them all.''

Banner said the Browns' plan is ``to build a consensus'' when they go on the clock, rather than taking a vote on which player to draft in the first round. Cleveland does not have a second-round selection, making it essential to hit on its opening pick.

No one in the organization is more aware of that than Haslam, who is an avid football fan and a major supporter of the University of Tennessee's team.

``Jimmy is very excited, which is why he'll be with us for the next two days, as scheduled all along,'' Banner said, indirectly referring to the Pilot Flying J situation. ``He'll also be here almost all of next week, and of course for the draft itself.

``There is a lot of pressure - mostly self-imposed, really - for us to be successful. Jimmy is a big part of our efforts to do that.''

---

NOTES: The Browns held a two-hour morning practice outside under sunny skies. The temperature was 74 degrees. ``We've got a little Cleveland sun and a Lake Erie breeze today,'' Chudzinski said. ``I'm glad we got out here.'' The first two minicamp sessions were held inside the Browns' fieldhouse because their four grass fields were recently aerated. ... NFL veteran Shayne Graham and undrafted rookie Brandon Bogotay shared the kicking duties, but neither is guaranteed of a roster spot in the regular season. ``We'll continue to look at the kicker position going forward and see what other guys are out there,'' Chudzinski said. Phil Dawson was Cleveland's kicker from 1999-2012, but signed with San Francisco after not being offered a contract by the Browns.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Mike PounceyJul 23 12:33p

Miami Dolphins C Mike Pouncey (hip) could miss the first eight weeks of the season because of the hip surgery he had this offseason, according to a source. He [ More ]

Evan RodriguezJul 23 12:23p

Buffalo Bills FB Evan Rodriguez (cramps) and TE Chris Gragg (cramps) were hospitalized because of complications from cramps and were getting hydrated, according to head coach Doug Marrone. Rodriguez [ More ]

Dustin HopkinsJul 23 12:20p

Buffalo Bills PK Dustin Hopkins will have to try to make the roster as a kickoff specialist, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Vernon DavisJul 23 12:13p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis has reported to camp Wednesday, July 23, according to an Instagram post from 49ers S C.J. Spillman.

Jason BabinJul 23 12:03p

New York Jets signed DE Jason Babin (Jaguars) to a two-year contract, with the second year being a team option. He's expected to serve as a situational pass rusher.

Reggie WayneJul 23 11:13a

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (knee) said he has been medically cleared to practice. He's expected to be limited, though, especially in the near future.

Kraig UrbikJul 23 10:53a

Buffalo Bills OG Chris Hairston continued to receive first-team repetitions at right guard in the red zone drills Wednesday, July 23. OG Kraig Urbik struggled with first-team the previous day.

Jamaal CharlesJul 23 09:53a

Updating previous reports, Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles will not report to training camp Wednesday, July 23, barring a major contract breakthrough.

Vick BallardJul 23 09:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Vick Ballard (knee) reported to camp and has passed his physical.

Rob GronkowskiJul 23 08:53a

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) has been cleared for contact and will not be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list, according to head coach Bill Belichick.

Evan RodriguezJul 23 08:43a

Buffalo Bills TE Chris Gragg (cramps), FB Evan Rodriguez (cramps) and CB Brandon E. Smith (leg) were out of practice Wednesday, July 23. OT Seantrel Henderson (hip) returned to action.

Rashad JenningsJul 23 08:23a

New York Giants RBs Rashad Jennings, David Wilson and Andre Williams could be used in a three-man rotation this season to keep Jennings fresh.

Caleb McSurdyJul 23 02:53a

The St. Louis Rams waived four players Tuesday, July 22, as they cut loose OL Abasi Salimu, WR Diontae Spencer, LB Caleb McSurdy, and LB Tavarius Wilson.

Carl NicksJul 23 02:43a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Bobby Rainey, G Carl Nicks and DE Da'Quan Bowers may be fighting for roster spots once training camp begins due to other competition for their [ More ]

Chris CulliverJul 23 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver (knee) has been cleared to take part in practice when training camp opens this week. He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament to [ More ]

Ben TateJul 23 01:13a

Cleveland Browns RBs Ben Tate and Terrance West will compete for the starting tailback job during training camp and the preseason, and it's a battle head coach Mike Pettine [ More ]

Joel BitonioJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns OG Joel Bitonio (ankle) lined up with the first-team offense during organized team activities (OTAs), and he held the spot until he suffered a sprained ankle June [ More ]

Paul McQuistanJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns OLs Garrett Gilkey, Paul McQuistan and Jason Pinkston are fighting for position in the pecking order at right guard, and one of them might even push OG [ More ]

Craig RobertsonJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns LBs Christian Kirksey and Craig Robertson will compete for an inside linebacker job during training camp, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Joe HadenJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns CBs Justin Gilbert and Buster Skrine will compete for the starting cornerback job opposite CB Joe Haden in training camp. 'We weren't going to hand Justin that [ More ]

Gary BarnidgeJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge and Jim Dray will battle for the No. 2 tight end spot during training camp and the preseason.

Eli ManningJul 23 12:23a

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) has shown no ill effects during camp from ankle surgery that sidelined him for earlier offseason activities.

Tom CoughlinJul 22 11:53p

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was not happy that several players were forced to leave practice with dehydration issues Tuesday, July 22. 'It pisses me off,' Coughlin [ More ]

Brandon LloydJul 22 11:23p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson is the frontrunner for the No. 3 WR job, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, but he added that neither Johnson nor WR [ More ]

Darren SprolesJul 22 11:13p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles' ability to win one-on-one matchups in space is what head coach Chip Kelly plans to exploit this season. Kelly said opposing defenses played a [ More ]

Thaddeus LewisJul 22 11:03p

Buffalo Bills QB Thaddeus Lewis and WR Tori Gurley had miscommunications on three occasions Tuesday, July 22, resulting in two incomplete passes and an interception. Joe Buscaglia of WGR [ More ]

Thaddeus LewisJul 22 10:53p

Buffalo Bills QB Thaddeus Lewis and QB Jeff Tuel are in an open competition for the backup quarterback job, head coach Doug Marrone said Tuesday, July 22.

Brian MoormanJul 22 10:43p

Buffalo Bills P Brian Moorman was more effective than P Jake Dombrowski on punts in terms of both average hang time and average distance Tuesday, July 22.

Titus YoungJul 22 09:53p

Updating a previous story, free-agent WR Titus Young (Lions) was charged with felony battery with serious bodily injury from an alleged July 8 incident inside a Los Angeles-area hospital. [ More ]

Ryan MathewsJul 22 09:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews' rookie contract will expire after the 2014 season, which means this could be his final year with the organization, in the opinion of [ More ]

Mario WilliamsJul 22 09:43p

Buffalo Bills DE Mario Williams, DT Marcell Dareus and DT Kyle D. Williams were all rotated out of the lineup at times during team drills Tuesday, July 22. LB [ More ]

Nigel BradhamJul 22 09:23p

Buffalo Bills LB Nigel Bradham was one of eight players to record sacks during team drills Tuesday, July 22. The team's pass rush has been consistent since camp began, [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group