CLEVELAND — Three weeks after his head coach called the quarterback situation "muddy at best", Browns owner Jimmy Haslam used the same phrase as he addressed a variety of topics during the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards on Thursday.
The biggest topic remains what the Browns will do at quarterback as Haslam called that the most important decision of the offseason.
"We are going to work until we find the right person. I am not slighting Connor (Shaw) or Johnny (Manziel) or Brian (Hoyer) if he were to come back," Haslam said. "We are going to work until we get a quarterback that is going to help us win consistently and that has been our goal since Day 1.
"Every option is open as far as who is going to play next year. That will be up (general manager) Ray (Farmer) and Pett (Mike Pettine) what direction we go."
On some other subjects that Haslam touched on:
On Johnny Manziel: "Johnny has to show on and off the field he can be a professional. Johnny knows that and the organization has told him that. It will be up to Flip (new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) and Pett if he can be the kind of quarterback that we need. It’s up to him to prove he can do that."
On this past season: "We’ve had 2-3 weeks to evaluate the season. Considering at the first of the year if we were going to finish 7-9 what would have everyone said? They would have said we had a pretty good year. The reality is we were 7-4 at one time and now it really looks bad. We have things we have to work on as a team. We don’t have enough depth, injuries hit us hard which is why we faltered down the stretch. All I would say to our fans is we are gong to work real hard to find that quarterback and make us a championship team."
On the texting investigation: "The NFL hasn’t spoken to me. I know that Ray and Pett and Sasha Brown (general counsel) are cooperating fully. If we did any wrong we will make amends to correct it."
On if he is going worried about friction between the coaching staff and front office: "I will say this, despite the outside view and I think Ray took the high road which our organization is going to do, we work extremely well. Ray, Pett, Sash and Alex (team president Alec Scheiner) are going off for three days to have a strategic planning session and we will work hard and close together. We have disagreements and I would venture to say that wherever you all work there are disagreements too. We work together extremely well and it is important to remember that the five of us have been together less than a year. It takes time to build a team and I think we have a really great group that we are excited about."
On offensive coordinator: "We are really excited about DeFilippo. John wants to be here and he is the kind of guy that welcomes the challenge. He looks at our quarterback situation, understands where he is and knows our schedule. That’s the kind of person we want here. I’m not going to talk about Kyle (Shanahan). He is a smart guy who has a great future in coaching."
Haslam was also seen talking to Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones — a fan favorite in Cleveland — backstage at the event.