BEREA — Browns president Mike Holmgren admitted Friday his future is unknown once the Cleveland Browns are sold to Jimmy Haslam.
“My future is bright,” Holmgren said before the Browns practiced. “That will be answered down the road. You control the things you can control and do the best you can.”
Translation: He might figure his time in Cleveland is tenuous with the sale.
Holmgren has a home in Seattle, and has said in the past that he plans to return there once his work in Cleveland is finished. He has also been around long enough to understand that a new owner probably will want his own guy running the team.
“We’ll deal with those things as we go down the road,” Holmgren said. “Right now I’m the president of the team and that’s how I’m operating.”
Holmgren conceded that Haslam is negotiating to buy a controlling interest of the Browns, a negotiation that several sources said is close to complete.
Holmgren said that the Browns will not be moving. He confirmed what a source said, that owner Randy Lerner demanded a promise that the team not move before he even listened to financial proposals.
“From the get-go that’s been one of the stipulations and both principles understand that,” Holmgren said. “The Cleveland Browns aren’t going anywhere.
“The Cleveland Browns are the Cleveland Browns and they’re going to stay.”
Holmgren said he first heard of the possible sale when Lerner called him this summer. He added the sale came about because Lerner wanted the right guy to take the team. As Holmgren said, the “stars aligned in the last few months.”
“He has deep love for this team,” Holmgren said of Lerner. “He’s been with this franchise since his father passed away, and running it and trying his best to do the right things. I think as his kids have gotten older, his life has changed a little bit. He thought if the right person … he was very, very concerned and interested in the right person stepping forward if he was going to sell the football team.”
Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the team about the sale before Friday’s practice, another indication that things are well down the road toward being completed.
However, he cautioned that nothing is finalized until the league approves the sale.
“The number one thing our owner wanted me to pass along,” Holmgren said, “was that this is a great community, (and it) deserves a fine football team. I think we’re getting close, and he just does not want any of this to disrupt that for the coaches and/or the players.