Here's the latest: Browns owner Jimmy Haslam says that CEO Joe Banner will step down in the next two months, as well as the team's current general manager, Mike Lombardi. And the Browns' Assistant GM, Ray Farmer, will be the team's new GM. This all on the heels of the hiring of its most current coach, Mike Pettine, after Rob Chudzinksi was fired in late December.
ideastream's Brian Bull spoke to local Browns fans at an area bar just as the team's press conference announcing the changes wrapped up, and has this montage of opinions:
Clad in sweats and sporting a baseball cap, Darrell Howard was at the bar ordering lunch, watching the televised event. Howard first began by talking about how he didn’t see this really as a “shakeup.”
"Butcha know, every year, just constantly rebuilding, searching for quarterbacks, searching for running backs, you got all these first round draft picks, and you’re only winning only two or three games..." Howard said to WCPN. "....Cleveland’s one of the hardest cities with the best fans ever. The Browns is the heart of Cleveland, everybody love the Browns. You want to see them do good, so with that being said, they have to do what’s best for the organization.”
Jim Graham was with friends at a windowside table, and the only one who agreed to share his opinion. He shook his head at the news.
“As a Browns fan my whole life, I’m tired of hearing of shakeups that are supposedly going to make the team better and not investing as much time, energy or emotion into it anymore. I have no confidence that anyone they hire is going to do anything dramatically differently, we’ll wait and see what they do.”
Jason Story and Mike Hardrick were both happy -- and befuddled -- Browns fans.
”We gotta change something! Need a winning team. We need a winnin’ something!" they told WCPN.
"Because the Browns, I find myself rooting for them every year, but also find myself let down, every year," grinned Story.
“Can’t do anything but get better," said Hardrick solemnly. "They did everything else in the last couple of years….if the staff that you got can’t make it happen, you clean house and start over.”
“We got one of the youngest teams in the NFL! Get some, some guidance behind them and they should be some contenders!” added Story.
Near the take-out section of the tavern, Crystal Hall and Shirley Brown were gathering their food and winter gear. The two women had a reverent, almost spiritual tone in talking about their local NFL team.
“Anything can help," said Hall. "So maybe this might be a positive for the Browns for right now. Maybe put some new thought, new minds, new heads, and they might be able to do something.”
“We gonna keep on having the faith in the Browns, all the way!" laughed Brown. "So hopefully, this will be a good change for ‘em. So sometimes, shakeup is good.”
The two women laughed again and made their way out into the snowy street.
Back in the bar, many other Browns fans watched the TV screens quietly. One man who declined to be recorded said, "I just hope this makes it all work, finally."