CLEVELAND - So what is next for the Cleveland Browns? The who's who in the NFL sports world are saying that former Eagles president Joe Banner is on his way to Cleveland to be the Browns' new president.
Banner has been looking for this since he left the Eagles. I find it hard to believe that it wasn't Banner that told WIP radio host and Eagles sideline reporter Howard Eskin that the Browns were for sale a few months ago. After all, it was Eskin who broke the story. While many of us in Cleveland knew the rumblings were out in rumorville, it was Eskin that confirmed it.
"Banner is in. Holmgren and Heckert are out." I hear it over and over and over everyday. What puzzles me is that if this deal was really only consummated in a month, why would new owner Jimmy Haslam have any greater allegiance to Banner than he does Mike Holmgren or Tom Heckert?
I know it's football. Reggie Rucker has reminded me over and over again. But, if Banner is that tight with Haslam, it sounds like the league is pushing Banner on Haslam to be the president.
I wouldn't be surprised if it was the league that wanted Randy Lerner out too. I wonder how league owners felt when Holmgren was showing up to league meetings, and Lerner was not?
Players won't like Banner. His sole purpose is the bottom line. Something Browns fans have not had to worry about with Randy Lerner. If the Browns choose not to go after free agents, it was never a money thing. It was a personnel issue.
I know that it looks like Holmgren and Heckert might be gone soon. The thought of going through another coaching staff turnover makes my stomach churn.
I keep thinking about this quote from Haslam from his new conference when asked if he will be active in making football decisions and was excited to have dinner with Holmgren the night before: "I'm a believer in collective wisdom and if you have five smart people sitting around the table, it's better than four, but we're going to take some time to get up to speed before we get real involved in any football decisions."
I'm not sure what the right direction will be. In the span of 24 hours, we talked to both Eskin and WIP's Glen Macnow on my radio show. Macnow made us believe that Banner is good at the business side of football, but we should be worried if he gets into football personnel matters. Eskin made us feel like the Browns need to bring Banner in yesterday.
All I know is that the last thing this franchise needs is a complete overhaul again. Waiting five more years, when we are in year three of the Holmgren plan, is not something I am looking forward too.
Let's just hope that for the first time since 1994, we can talk about a playoff win. I just hope they can finally get this thing right.