Haslam Greets Fans at Browns Family Night
CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns Family Night gave Browns fans an opportunity to see the team on its home field as coaches and players prepare for the 2012 season.
It will be a season in which the team has a new starting quarterback, and a new owner.
Just days after Jimmy Haslam, III announced his billion dollar acquisition of the team, some of the fans attending Wednesday night’s event also got a chance to meet the owner and offer him a piece of their mind.
Greeting season ticket holders, Haslam seemed to say all the right things, offering autographs, posing for photos and shaking hands with a rousing “Go Browns!”
“Unbelievable, I mean unbelievable,” said Haslam of his fan experience, adding, “I was telling some of my friends back home, they were saying, ‘What were your two main impressions?’ I said first of all, I’ve never seen people who love football as much as this community does and second of all we need to win!”
Some fans seemed caught off guard by the chance to meet the team’s owner.
“I was just sitting there, eating free hotdogs, and all of a sudden you see the owner right behind you. That’s cool. That’s really cool,” said George Wallace.
Many said they would never have expected to ever see previous owner Randy Lerner, to say nothing of the chance to shake his hand.
“I’ve never hardly seen him even on TV. It’s nice to have an owner come in here and shake your hand and make you feel appreciated,” said Jimmy Isaac.
“It’s awesome to see him out here connecting with the fans. It’s just absolutely great. We have an owner who cares, he’s passionate, getting involved with the fan base,” added Chris Young.
At one point, Haslam was asked by his staff members if he would step aside to speak with reporters. The new owner insisted on continuing to shake the hands of those fans who were still waiting to meet him.
“What I have told every fan here tonight is, they were excited, I said hang in there, be patient, we will work our very hardest to bring a winner here. I don’t think it will happen overnight but we are headed in the right direction,” said Haslam.
Many of the fans he met were willing to take him at his word.
“It sure seems like he’s sincere. I have to hope he is because it’s been a long road,” said season ticket holder Steve Staszak, who was there with his son.
“He said, the more he wins the more people will like him. If he starts losing, everybody is going to hate him. Hopefully he will get it turned around,” concluded Isaac.
“I think that’s what he and his family are all about, they get out there,” said Jeffrey Wahl. “They get out in the community, they spend time like this. I think things are going to take off now.”Submit Your Photo