Owner Dee Haslam shares fans' frustrations over failure to win

Following "terrible" 2 years, Mrs. Haslam is committed to team's turnaround

Daryl Ruiter
June 01, 2018 - 6:49 pm
Browns owner Dee Haslam poses with coach Hue Jackson and a $30,000 donation for his foundation prior to his swim in Lake Erie on June 1, 2018.

Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan

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Bay Village, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Believe it or not, Browns owner Dee Haslam feels your pain.

When Mrs. Haslam greeted Hue Jackson with a hug at the front door of the team’s facility on Jan 13, 2016 as employees cheered from the staircase overlooking the lobby, not even she could’ve imagined how difficult the next 2 years would be.

"The last couple of years have been terrible for us, and really terrible for our fans,” Mrs. Haslam told 92.3 The Fan Friday afternoon after Jackson completed his swim in Lake Erie. “We take that responsibility, feel horrible about it because northeast Ohio and fans of the Cleveland Browns deserve so much more."

Mrs. Haslam, along with her son-in-law JW Johnson, joined Jackson and 150 other team employees in the lake Friday afternoon as a symbolic gesture of washing away years of frustration and losing.

“This was actually an important symbolism for a new start,” Mrs. Haslam said.

The Haslam’s matched Jackson’s $15,000 donation to his foundation, which was formed to combat human trafficking, bringing the total raised to $30,000 and they hope to raise even more money with proceeds from the sale of commemorative t-shirts now on sale from the event.

“It was a great thing to do, and for a great cause,” Mrs. Haslam said, praising the work that Jackson’s foundation is doing. “This was a great thing to do today and the water wasn’t too cold, so it worked out pretty well.”

While Jackson’s foundation is doing tremendous work off the field, the concerns about the product on the field remain.

At the time, landing Jackson was a coup for the Haslams, who had to settle for Rob Chudzinski and Mike Pettine with their first 2 coaching hires. The 2 coaches went 14-34 combined over 3 seasons, which today would feel like a monumental achievement.  

Everyone thought the third time was the charm, but so far, it’s been a nightmare but their belief in Jackson is unchanged.

"Hue is a great coach and leader of men," Mrs. Haslam said. 

The Browns have won 1 game since Jackson's hiring and have lost 36 of their last 37 games dating back to the end of the 2015 season. Jamie Meder’s blocked goal on Christmas eve 2016 against the Chargers saved them from a 37-game losing streak.

“We’re going to continue to work really hard and do everything we can to make this a winning organization and I think you've seen the steps we've taken,” Mrs. Haslam said.

In addition to drafting Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward and Bradley Chubb with 3 of their top-4 picks in the first 2 rounds of the draft, general manager John Dorsey retooled the roster this offseason through trades and free agency led by the acquisitions of quarterback Tyrod Taylor, receiver Jarvis Landry and safety Damarious Randall.

“The players are great,” Mrs. Haslam said. “We were in the facility today and we had a chance to spend time with the players and they're very fired up and working really hard."

With the dip in the lake behind them, the entire organization is now looking forward, not backward.

“It’s a new start and we’re excited about it,” Mrs. Haslam said.