CLEVELAND—Jimmy Haslam wasted no time in cutting ties with Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer. Haslam announced after meeting with Pettine at 7 pm that he was being relieved of his duties. The Browns announced the move in a release.
For the fifth time since 2008, the Browns are changing their organization at the top after losing to Pittsburgh. Starting after the 2008 season finale, Romeo Crennel was shown the door, followed by Eric Mangini after the 2010 season. Pat Shurmer was fired after the 2012 campaign and Rob Chudzinski was given one year and then fired after the 2013 season finale loss to the Steelers. Shurmer, Chudzinski and now Pettine were all fired by Haslam after he took over as owner for he team.
On Aug. 1, Haslam said he wasn’t going to start over at the end of the season.
“We’re not going to blow things up,” Haslam said on Aug. 1. “ I think we’re all on the right track, so we’re not going to blow things up. I understand why people might ask that after a couple of bumps in the road the first couple of years, but we’re not going to do that. I think we’re putting into place a good foundation.”
He went on to say that “We feel that we have the right people in place to, over a period time, to be successful. We’re clearly focused on doing that.”
After letting Pettine go, Haslam met with the media at FirstEnergy Stadium about an hour after the moves were made to explain his thinking.
“I don’t think any of us anticipated us going 3-13,” Haslam said. “I certainly didn’t and don’t think anybody in our building did. Mike and Ray understand it’s a bottom line business and losing 18 of 21 games is not acceptable. They get that and they understand that. They’re first class guys and I hate it for them and obviously hate it for us.”
Haslam also said that he takes full responsibility for the failures of the Browns since he’s been the owner.
“I think it’s really important – I thought a lot about this lately and I think it’s important for you all to hear this – that all of the attention as of late has been on Ray and Mike or most of it I should say, and I think appropriately so, but the fact that this franchise has not done better the last two or three years, the blame lies squarely with me because ultimately, it’s the head person who is responsible for everything," Haslam said. "We can lay blame on Ray or Mike or whomever, but ultimately, it’s our job to put the right people in the right position and provide the right resources. I think we’ve done the latter, but the fact that this franchise is not performing any better, certainly not like its great fans deserve, is my fault. I fully accept that responsibility."
Haslam admitted learning to be an NFL owner has been much more difficult than what he anticipated.
“Some of you have heard me say this before: it’s a steep learning curve coming into the NFL. It’s been very humbling and it’s been a lot harder than we thought. I think we were probably naïve when we came into the process. It’s one thing to be the minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s much different to be the majority owner.
"Hopefully we learned a lot over the last two or three years – certainly, have been learning the hard way – but I do think it’s important to acknowledge that. At the same time, (Browns Owner) Dee (Haslam) and I have become extremely fond of Cleveland, Northeastern Ohio, the community, the people and obviously our fans. We are extremely determined to turn this team around and take it from one of the worst teams in the NFL to one of the best teams. That is not at all going to be easy – there are lots of really smart, capable people running NFL teams who’ve done it for a long time and who are very good at it – but it’s something we’re firmly focused on doing and I think it’s extremely important.