SBD/November 9, 2012/Franchises

Browns CEO Joe Banner Addresses Specifics Of His New Role, Potential Changes

Banner says Haslam will be involved in draft-night decisions
Browns CEO Joe Banner discusses his role in the team's front office, his working relationship with team Owner Jimmy Haslam III and what changes may be in store for the franchise in an interview with Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. The following is an excerpt from the Q&A:

Q: What will your role be in football decisions such as the draft?
Banner: I will be one of the four or five people in that room. I'll have a voice. In some instances, it will go through me, but our goal is always to drive a consensus. That's always been my role as it related to the football part of operations.

Q: Will Jimmy Haslam be one of those four or five people?
Banner: Yes, absolutely because he's smart and he has common sense. The right decisions don't necessarily come out of someone who's always been a traditional football guy. Sometimes they come more from common sense than anything. He watches football and he's going to have perspective on what's most important.

Q: You're perceived as more of a business/salary-cap guy that a football guy. Is that accurate?
Banner: I think that definition has properly evolved over the last five or 10 years. There's a lot of examples of smart, hardworking guys running successful teams that are not thought of as football guys. You can't hire an Andy Reid without knowing something about football.

Q: But do you watch film and do some scouting?
Banner: I don't think the Eagles drafted a guy that I haven't watched. I'll watch all of the top guys and any free agent we're thinking of signing.

Q: Who will decide if a change at head coach/GM is necessary?
Banner: I will lead on all of the day-to-day type of things including if we're going to make a change and really be responsible for putting together the right list of people to consider for the change. I don't care who you are in the NFL, the owner has final say on everything.

Q: Will you assume the title of president or hire one?
Banner: CEO is more than enough. Everybody in the building reports to me. If I do hire a president, it won't be for the football side. Will there be a president, a COO, an executive vice president? That's part of what I'm deciding. I'm really trying to stay open-minded about the organizational structure and hope to decide that in the next one to three or four weeks. Right now I'm 60-40 on not naming a president, but that could change.

Q: Your biggest strength?
Banner: Being able to evaluate potential hires and put together really good people regardless of what area. I think it's my greatest strength and I think my history would back it up. You won't bat 100 percent. But you pick good people, create an environment for success and keep them together for a long time (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/9).

GETTING ACQUAINTED: In Akron, Nate Ulrich writes Banner "concedes changes are inevitable" but he is "still in the phase of figuring out what needs to be altered and how drastic those modifications will be." Banner said, "There is a huge challenge here. I consider that kind of good news because that's what I thrive on." Ulrich notes Banner on Sunday "attended a game in Cleveland for the first time since he began working as Haslam's right-hand man." Banner said that he and Haslam "have had a few conversations with architects about their ideas for stadium enhancements, but they have yet to hold any meetings." Banner "doesn't favor the idea of adding a retractable roof to the stadium." But he said that the scoreboards and sound systems "would be changed eventually." Banner: "As it relates to scoreboards and sound systems, things have advanced so far from when these systems came from. I don't want to prejudge anything, but it's inconceivable we won't be making some very dramatic changes there." He added, "We'll have Wi-Fi in the building. Now will we have it by next year, meaning 2013? I hope so. It depends upon how it fits into the more comprehensive changes" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 11/9).
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