Haslam approved as Browns owner; Holmgren out at season's end

12:15 PM, Oct 16, 2012   |    comments
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Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - NFL owners have approved the sale of the Cleveland Browns to a group led by Jimmy Haslam and changes are already taking place in the club's front office.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported that team president Mike Holmgren will leave the club at the conclusion of the season and former Eagles president Joe Banner will fill the position.

Haslam's group purchased 70 percent of the franchise from Randy Lerner in early August for a price reportedly in excess of $1 billion. Lerner, whose father Al was awarded the franchise in 1999 when the Browns returned to the NFL as an expansion club, will still own a 30 percent stake.

NFL owners, meeting in Chicago, unanimously approved the transaction on Tuesday.

Haslam, previously a minority shareholder in the Pittsburgh Steelers, had been the CEO of Pilot Flying J Corporation, the nation's largest retail operator of travel centers and truck stops. He relinquished the daily operations role and is now the chairman of the company.

The Lerners helped bring football back to northeast Ohio after the original Browns were moved by Art Modell to Baltimore following the 1995 campaign. The club's name and history, however, remained with the city and were restored when the Browns again began play in 1999.

Haslam takes control of a team that is coming off its first win of the season, a 34-24 victory over Cincinnati. The Browns have had just two winning seasons since rejoining the league in '99, reaching the playoffs once -- in 2002.

Holmgren accepted the job as club president in late December 2009. The Browns have just 10 wins since the start of the 2010 season, posting a record of 5-11 in 2010 and 4-12 last year.

The status of both general manager Tom Heckert and head coach Pat Shurmur are also in question.

Banner stepped down as Eagles president this past June. He had handled the team's day-to-day operations since 1995.

The Sports Network

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