BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns coaches and players arrived in Berea on Friday to the news that their boss was selling the team.
On Friday Browns owner Randy Lerner issued a statement that he was involved in negotiations with an additional investor for the team.
Later in the afternoon Browns team president Mike Holmgren announced that Lerner was in fact selling his controlling interest in the team.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur reacted to the news of the sale following practice by saying, “My first concern was our coaches, that they were informed of this early on, and then next were the players. Those were the two groups in the organization, and of course the trainers and the support staff. That was my concern. And so we informed them.”
Shurmur said he reminded his team that no matter who owns the team, the objective is still the same.
“I also informed them that the goals that we laid out last night in the meeting have not changed,” said Shurmur. “Not changed one bit.”
The longest tenured Cleveland Brown, kicker Phil Dawson, echoed Shurmur’s words.
“I certainly didn’t come to work thinking that this was going to happen,” said Dawson. “I really don’t think it’s going to have that big of an impact on the players because we come out here and play. Owners own, and that’s kinda how it cuts.”
Dawson is the only player on the team left from the original roster in 1999, the year the Browns returned to the NFL.
Linebacker Scott Fujita says there was some speculation of the sale amongst players but few had any reaction to the move and potential changes.
“I think like everybody we heard rumors a couple of months ago but we can’t pay attention to that. That’s something that we don’t have any control over,” said Fujita.
“All that stuff, it obviously will affect us in some way,” added Dawson. “But I can’t stand here now and tell you exactly how. But other than to say that it’s not going to affect us as much as everybody thinks.“