Haslam talks improvement, Josh Gordon
JUL 26, 2014 6:26p ET
BEREA, Ohio - Saturday's official start to Cleveland Browns training camp brought a capacity crowd to the team's training facility.
Dressed in a Browns t-shirt like thousands of others on hand was team owner Jimmy Haslam. Like thousands of others, he's hoping to see the Browns show improvement in 2014.
As for just how much improvement he personally hopes to see, Haslam isn't saying.
"To put wins and losses on it I think is unfair," Haslam told reporters after Saturday's practice. "This is a long process. This is a team that has not been very good for a long time and despite what a lot of people think, we're actually patient and feel we have the right group in place and we're going to get better over a period of time. I think we'll have a better football team this year and we're all going to be disappointed if we don't."
Haslam said he's "all about improvement" and would be even if the Browns were coming off a 12-4 season instead of a 4-12 season.
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"Hopefully we'll play better football this year," Haslam said. "I think Ray (Farmer) and (Mike Pettine) and (personnel executive) Bill Kuharich did a nice job in the offseason, first of all with free agency then the draft. We probably need another year or two like that to have really the kind of roster we need. In my terminology, we're directionally correct."
Haslam's company, Pilot Flying J, recently struck a deal with federal prosecutors to pay a $92 million penalty and avoid criminal charges for defrauding trucking companies. Haslam declined comment on whether he's been assured he'll escape indictment but said his company "is glad to put this chapter behind us."
"This happened on April 15th last year," Haslam said of the IRS and FBI searching Pilot Flying J headquarters. "We said on April 16th that clearly it looks like some people had made some mistakes in our company, and it cost all of us dearly. I think we also said we would, No. 1, cooperate with the government, which we've done and will continue to do; No. 2, put systems and processes in place where something like this could never happen again, we've done that; and No. 3, make things right with our customers and we've done that."
Haslam said the Browns have not discussed releasing troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon, who's practicing while he awaits a reported Aug. 1 NFL hearing in regards to a possible NFL suspension. Haslam cited NFL policy in saying there wasn't much he could share about Gordon's situation.
"First and foremost we care about our players and want our players to take care of themselves and make good decisions," he said. "We're going to do everything we can to support them. But at the same time, the players have to understand they're accountable to themselves, to their teammates, to the front office and to our fans. People have to understand that and I'll leave it at that."