Almost exactly a year ago I went to Cleveland, and I suppose the purpose of my trip was tourism-related. Joakim Noah was pissed.
Since the burdens of the normal expenses of early adulthood (in my case, buying a condo) had drained my monetary reservoirs at the time, a five-hour drive to Cleveland to knock another good ol’ American ballpark off my list was an economical getaway for a few days, especially since the cost of a house in that fine city is roughly equivalent to the price of a VCR.
For those two days of “vacation” I wasn’t a football blogger. Instead, I was a baseball fan soaking in the atmosphere around Progressive Field. But that was frequently interrupted by rubbery dog (dawg?) faces and bones. Even in August during the early days of training camp before a single preseason game had been played, and even with the Indians still clinging to playoff contention, the Browns owned that town.
That’s why whenever there’s even discussion about a change in Browns ownership, there’s also immediate fear about the team leaving. It’s happened once, and it could happen again.
Earlier today when Randy Lerner issued a statement saying that Jimmy Haslem had interest in making a substantial investment in the team, those fears resurfaced. But stay calm, Browns faithful, the Factory of Sadness isn’t getting relocated.
When team president Mike Holmgren addressed the media later on Friday afternoon, he confirmed that Lerner was handing controlling interest (read: his ownership) to Haslem, an old guy who takes showers in money courtesy of his family’s founding of Pilot Flying J, the 11th largest private company in the United States that brought in $17.8 billion in 2011, according to Forbes. Haslem is also a minority owner of the Steelers, which isn’t a conflict of interest at all.
But then some relieving words followed.
Good, great, wonderful. But Mike, are you going anywhere?
Speaking in the expected vague language typical of a man who just had the landscape of his professional existence mowed down to its dry soil, Holmgren only said that questions about his future will be answered “down the road.”
So there you have it, Cleveland. Holmgren may or may not leave after this year, or sometime in the near future, but what’s important is that you’ll have no shortage of opportunities to permanently shrink your nipples while yelling obscenities to the nation.