The locker-room door swung open after the Browns’ first win. Out popped Jimmy Haslam, who — unless the Cleveland jinx is even worse than everyone thinks — will be approved as team owner Tuesday.
The locker-room door swung open after the Browns’ first win.
Out popped Jimmy Haslam, who — unless the Cleveland jinx is even worse than everyone thinks — will be approved as team owner Tuesday.
Haslam walked the 12 paces from the double doors to the press-room opening. Fidgeting writers sat waiting there for the head coach, who was later than usual.
Haslam seemed to know Shurmur’s wife would be in the press room. He stopped outside the room and searched for her. She was near the back. Shurmur craned his neck to look around writers Brian Dulik and Scott Petrak, who were standing between Haslam and Mrs. Shurmur.
Finally, when he saw her, his face lit up. When she looked outside and saw him, she smiled, too. Haslam gave Mrs. Shurmur, who was sitting with three of her’s and the coach’s children, a big thumbs up.
Then he hurried along, keeping a quick interview with a writer short and sweet.
“Good win,” he said. “Good win. Played well.”
MEETING IS TUESDAY
Haslam is off to Chicago, where owners are expected to rubber stamp the transfer of power from Randy Lerner to him.
What did that thumbs up to the coach’s wife mean? At minimum, it seemed to indicate the new owner is proceeding graciously with the head coach and his family.
Only a fool would insert thoughts in Haslam’s head or words into his mouth, but it was hard to avoid a sense that Shurmur’s run, however endangered, is not doomed.
It is hard to call it the last game of the Lerner era, since the outgoing owner has been out of sight since closing the terms of sale.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden, for one, seemed to be operating on Haslam time.
“We’re happy for him,” Weeden said after improving to 1-5 as an NFL quarterback. “He’s about to take over a franchise, and we just won a big game.”
Weeden passed for 231 yards and two touchdowns and posted a strong 92.7 game rating. He is likely to have his job at least through the 2013 season, possibly much longer.
Shurmur has no such security. Haslam has committed $1.1 billion to buying the team. Winning for Shurmur was priceless.
Shurmur seemed to be walking on clouds as he emerged from his press conference and strode through the locker room.
At the end of his last pass through, he made a right turn toward an interview at Montario Hardesty’s stall and used a rolled-up stats pack to slap the player on his back.
Hardesty had been a star of two touchdown drives that pulled the Browns out of a hole. Shurmur was most appreciative.
Page 2 of 2 - “You could see it on Pat’s face on the sideline,” Weeden said. “It was like someone took the monkey off his back.
“It’s not like playing left guard. When things are going bad, the head coach gets run over. The quarterback gets run over.”
This was no ordinary win. It kept the Browns from setting a franchise record with a 12th straight loss.
It came two days before Haslam takes over.