BEREA, Ohio– Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam spoke to reporters about a variety of issues facing the team and the NFL during training camp on Saturday.
The Browns have stayed vague about when wide receiver Josh Gordon will return. Gordon, who’s spent time in rehab and dealt with NFL suspensions, announced on Monday he would not be at training camp.
“We’re interested in Josh the person, we respect his privacy. And until he gets back to camp, we’re going to focus on the players that are here,” Jimmy Haslam said. He said they’ve seen a lot of positives in Gordon, including his work ethic, his attitude and his actions off the field.
Those off-the-field concerns were also brought up when wideout Dez Bryant and embattled cornerback Pacman Jones were mentioned. The former Dallas Cowboys star is expected to work out with the Browns, while Jones was at camp earlier this week.
“We’re going to continue to look at anybody we can to make the team better,” Jimmy said. “Not everybody is as advertised, good or bad.” The couple said they trust the judgement of the personnel team, but would veto a player if they felt it was necessary.
A major topic facing NFL owners is how to handle protests during the national anthem. The NFL and NFLPA issued a joint statement this week, saying the two sides had a constructive meeting about the anthem policy and talks continue.
Last season, the Haslams met with their players weeks after a group took a knee prior to the preseason game against the New York Giants. Jimmy Haslam said he wished they would have talked sooner and offered this advice to other owners.
“Sit down and talk it through… We came away from that meeting with more respect than we ever had,” he said.
Dee Haslam praised the Browns for their actions in the community, including a series of neighborhood summits, which will continue this year.
“The players are really active in working on a plan for social justice reform in our area,” she said.