Browns president: No desire to be involved with football decisions
BEREA, Ohio – The unveiling of the revamped Cleveland Browns logo brought Browns president Alec Scheiner his first chance to respond to a CBS Sports report earlier this month that described Scheiner as a "divisive figure" in the organization and said both Scheiner and team owner Jimmy Haslam meddled in football matters.
"I just focus on what I have to do here," Scheiner said Tuesday.
Haslam previously told reporters he felt "sucker punched" by the report that described the Browns organization as toxic and dysfunctional. Scheiner said he does not see things that way.
"The most important thing is what we’re doing in the building– how we work together in the building, what progress we make in the building — and I feel great about that," Scheiner said. "I’ve always felt great about working with (general manager) Ray Farmer and (head coach) Mike Pettine. I’ve always said I think Jimmy is a fantastic NFL owner. (He’s) not a good NFL owner, a fantastic NFL owner. He gives us all the resources we need. He asks the right questions."
Haslam, Scheiner, Farmer, Pettine and Sashi Brown, the team’s executive vice president/general counsel, went to Florida for what Scheiner, Haslam and Pettine have called a retreat in late January to lay out the team’s plans going forward.
"I thought we had a really good organizational retreat," Scheiner said. "I think it’s good to sit in a room and talk about what kind of organization we want to become. I felt great going into that retreat (and) I felt great leaving the retreat. So once again, in the building our job is to become a better organization. That’s what we focus on."
Before the release of the team’s new logo — mostly a bolder orange and the reveal of Browns facemasks ahead of an April new uniform unveiling — Scheiner said the Browns "had a good year on the business side."
The CBS report said Scheiner and Haslam joined team officials to watch film at 6 a.m. Mondays after games last fall. Haslam previously denied he was involved.
"There were a lot of inaccuracies in (the report) and that was certainly one of them," Haslam said. "Everybody says, ‘Well, why is the business guy watching film?’ And let me ask you, if you had an opportunity to watch film with Ray on Monday morning, would you do it?
"Alec is a smart guy and one of the most competent guys in pro sports, not just the NFL. And he wants to learn more so he sits in there and he’s not critiquing Ray. He’s listening to Ray’s comments."
Said Scheiner: "Any chance I get to learn I’ll take advantage of, and my whole career I’ve been like that. The times change, but Ray has been nice enough to let me watch tape with him and a few other scouts in the past, and I take advantage of it. All I do is sit in there and try to learn and listen. There’s nothing I could offer that could make them better."
Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine last week, Pettine joked that he "was asleep at 6 a.m." and said if Scheiner was watching film with team officials, he wasn’t involved.
The Browns have a new offensive coordinator after Kyle Shanahan asked out last month. The team has also seen 2014 first-round pick Johnny Manziel check himself into rehab and wide receiver Josh Gordon receive a suspension of at least a year for violating terms of his post-DUI deal with the NFL. Free agency starts March 10, and Scheiner said he is not involved with football decisions and does not plan to be.
"I like my role," Scheiner said. "I’ve got enough on my plate."