As the news of Randy Lerner’s upcoming sale of the Cleveland Browns to Tennessee gas station scion Jimmy Haslam set in, we’d started to warm up about the idea that the franchise’s karma would finally be severed from those who assisted Art Modell in carrying out one of modern civilization’s greatest unpunished crimes. So much for that, with WKYC’s Jim Donovan reporting that Lerner will maintain a 30% interest in the Browns at least until Haslam exercises an option “to increase his share in the team [to some unspecified proportion] at some point.”
In better news, it looks like at least one profound Lerner mistake might shortly be erased, with reports that former Philadelphia Eagles President Joe Banner is part of the new ownership group giving way to the conclusion that Mike Holmgren will soon be on the outs. If true, Holmgren’s legacy as Browns President will include:
- Having been handed unimaginable wealth thanks to Lerner’s overreaction to the self-interested publicity stunt by an illiterate and since disappeared con man;
- Letting Eric Mangini twist on the vine for the entirety of 2010 with no intention of bringing him back as head coach the next season;
- Peddling the lie that Mangini was fired because he “didn’t win enough,” despite the obvious significant improvement of the Browns in 2010;
- Replacing Mangini with his late best friend’s nephew, Pat Shurmur, under whom the Browns won even fewer games in 2011 and became a league laughingstock while regressing in every phase, and are now a consensus pick to finish as the worst team in the league in 2012;
- Tabbing Colt McCoy as a legitimate starting NFL quarterback despite glaring warning signs;
- Missing badly on a trade for Robert Griffin III after having made it public that Griffin was the franchise’s first choice to replace McCoy;
- Mangling the franchise’s ties with Jim Brown, the Greatest Cleveland Brown and NFL football player of all time;
- Handing out six and seven-figure jobs to his old high school friend’s clients like they’re Lake Erie Monsters tickets;
- Unrestrained expressions of desire to return home to Seattle with Randy’s $40 million, and;
- Unrestrained disdain for the press assigned to report on Lerner’s return on that $40 million.
On the plus side of the ledger, folks will put Holmgren’s hiring of Tom Heckert, a GM who’s assembled a roster that was good enough to become a league laughingstock in 2011 while regressing in every phase, that’s now a consensus pick to finish as the worst team in the league in 2012.
If the Big Show is on his way out, it’s at least an indication of some of the positives we might enjoy with new custodians of the Browns, as much as these new custodians will still be hampered not only by the Curse of Wahoo but also, still, the Curse of Lerner.
In related news, here’s Mary Kay Cabot with the “cannon-armed risktaking gunslinger who’s offering no apologies” thing.
And finally the quote of the day is from Shurmur, on rookie defensive tackles John Hughes and Billy Winn practicing together against the starting offensive line:
“We did that on purpose. They battled in there pretty well.”
Hope everyone’s week gets off to a decent start.