NFL Franchise Notes: Browns Front Office In Limbo With Pending Team Sale
Browns GM Tom Heckert yesterday admitted that the “current regime has no idea what its future holds in light of the impending sale of the team to Tennessee businessman Jimmy Haslam III.” Heckert said, "Until we sit down with the new owner, no one's really sure what's going to happen. I've told the guys on my staff and some of the players to just keep doing what they're doing.” A league source said of former Eagles President Joe Banner’s involvement in Haslam’s group, "I think it's safe to assume that when a new owner or president comes in, they want to bring in their own people. Whether or not they keep any of those guys around remains to be seen" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/1).
A RELIEF: In St. Paul, Jeremy Fowler writes Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf, entering his eighth season with the franchise, now can “hold a news conference without the stadium issue being shrouded in legislative uncertainty.” The stadium's “scheduled opening in 2016 is a relief for Wilf, whose staff will spend the coming year hiring consultants for development, working with authorities and finalizing potential plans for a retractable roof.” Wilf said that he is “trying for the retractable roof but guaranteed the stadium will have 'certainly a retractable element.'" Wilf: "Looking back, it was a greater burden than I thought because I feel very much relieved that for generations to come our fans in Minnesota will enjoy Vikings football here" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 8/1).
CHANGE IS GOOD: In L.A., Sam Farmer wrote the Raiders “feel a little less like a maverick organization and a little more like the other 31 teams in the NFL.” That feeling “might not necessarily be embraced by the entire fan base, but a club that has missed the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons was due for a meaningful overhaul.” Even the team's ‘12 media guide, “finally printed in color, reflects the change,” bearing the slogan "A New Era of Excellence" on the cover. There is a feeling among Raiders players “that there's no longer an owner playing favorites, and there's more personal accountability among everyone on the roster” (L.A. TIMES, 7/31).
FEEDING FRENZY: In Jacksonville, Drew Dixon reported the Jaguars “will allow fans to bring their own food into EverBank Field for this year’s home games.” The new policy states food is allowed, “provided that it is unwrapped and placed inside a one-gallon clear plastic bag no larger than 11-inch-by-11-inch (standard freezer bag).” The policy also states that, "no outside liquids or beverages “will be permitted to enter.” This marks the “first time in the history of the NFL in Jacksonville that fans can bring their own food into the stadium” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 7/28).
TRASH TALKING: In DC, Sarah Kogod noted Redskins players “all received iPads this season with the team playbook loaded on to them.” Redskins TE Chris Cooley said, “I don’t think anyone’s locked themselves out. They made an adamant point that if you mess your password up five times, you don’t just lock yourself out. You erase the entire iPad.” Cooley also revealed “an unexpected feature.” The playbook allows players “to send a message to the team anonymously.” The discussion forum was designed "to discuss plays, but comes with a fun side benefit.” The "'discussions' can also be anonymous trash talking." Cooley said, “I don’t know who figured it out or who started it. Like I said, they’re anonymous. As of today, there are maybe fifty postings. My opinion is that it will take off” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/30).