CLEVELAND— The Browns might not have aimed for an out-of-the-box rebuild, but out of the box is exactly where the organization landed.
After hiring a pair of Harvard graduates— Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown— to lead the team’s front office, the Browns followed suit when hiring a Vice President of Player Personnel.
That hire, of course, was another Harvard graduate: 28-year old former Pro Scouting Coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Berry.
Berry, who was one of the nearly ten candidates the team interviewed, impressed the Browns for a variety of reasons— the first of which was the recommendations he received from many around the league.
"In football circles, he's one of those young and upcoming talents that you hear about, and we've been hearing his name for the last several months,” Haslam said. “A couple of people I've run into at various NFL functions were favorably impressed, and as we began checking him out, the references were outstanding.”
As was the case with Browns head coach Hue Jackson, the Browns too enjoyed the fact that Berry felt comfortable in the pair of interviews he was a part of.
“We spent really two different sessions with Andrew,” Haslam said. “It just felt really comfortable talking to him and you know he's very bright. He's very energetic. I know the question is he's only 28 years old, but we checked references extensively on him just like we did on Hue and they came back I would say extremely positive so I think he'll be a great addition to our team.”
Berry, as the team’s talent evaluator, will be responsible for the team’s scouting department, but Haslam isn’t quite sure how the structure will officially work just yet.
He knows that Berry will work under Brown and DePodesta, but the particulars of Berry’s position will be worked out in the next couple of days.
“Sashi will be in charge of the 53, and Andrew will report to Sash. The scouts will report to Andrew. Exactly how that was organized, we haven’t decided that yet,” Haslam said. “Sash and Paul and Andrew and I have a long call scheduled for tomorrow and we’ll begin finalizing the structure.”
Though the Browns may not yet be sure of the structure, Haslam indicated, as he has throughout the entire offseason, that the structure isn’t all that important.
What’s more important, according to the owner, is that the triumvirate atop the team’s front office works well together, which he feels won’t be a problem at all.
“It’s still a little bit fluid, but it’s really starting to take shape. I’m repeating myself on purpose,” Haslam said. “We’ve had the opportunity to work with Paul now for three weeks solid and spent a lot of time with Andrew, spent a lot of time with Hue and feel good about the group we’ve put together, the chemistry. Everybody is singularly focused on turning this franchise around.”
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