Brandon Weeden met Randy Lerner after the draft, and that was the extent of their relationship. Weeden said he has talked to Jimmy Haslam numerous times, even before the new owner takes over officially this week.
Randy Lerner stayed out of the way for 10 years. Then, he really stayed out of the way.
Actually, Lerner didn’t quite make it 10 years as Browns owner.
On Tuesday, Jimmy Haslam is expected to be approved in Chicago as Lerner’s replacement. Sunday’s game at Indianapolis marks the official launch of the Haslam regime.
Next Tuesday marks the 10-year anniversary of Al Lerner’s death, and Randy’s inheritance of Browns ownership.
Shortly after the funeral, attended by all of the Browns, the team flew to New York and won a game against the Jets to improve to 4-4.
Randy Lerner set his strategy in the ensuing months when the team marched to the playoffs. Namely: Designate authority over football matters to coaches and player personnel chiefs; maintain a heavy presence on the business side; be the opposite of a media star.
Some of his approach was a response to Art Modell’s very public way of owning the Browns before he moved them.
On the field, it worked poorly as the years wore on. Lerner said after several years that if the team couldn’t win under him, he might have to think about lateraling to someone else.
His last big play was to hire Mike Holmgren as the 2009 season was ending. It cost him a lot of money, not just to lure in Holmgren, but to allow Holmgren to populate the team complex with his own crowd both on the football and business sides.
Lerner delegated so much authority that he may have felt a bit detached. After the Holmgren regime managed just a 9-23 record through two years, he moved to sell.
When he did, as the 2012 training camp was dawning, he essentially said good-bye on the spot.
It was still his team for more than two more months, but it was Haslam’s baby, and he completely stayed out of Haslam’s way.
Lerner apparently did not attend Sunday’s win over the Bengals. Head coach Pat Shurmur said he received a congratulatory text from Lerner, and responded to it.
Brandon Weeden, the team’s most prominent player, talked Monday about his relationship with the outgoing owner and the incoming one.
“When I came in (after the draft), I met Randy here, and that was really my only interaction,” Weeden said. “Mr. Haslam has been around a lot. I’ve talked to him quite a few times.
“He’s a first-class guy. Everybody’s really excited about him taking over. He’s obviously a very savvy guy, and he loves football.”
Veteran linebacker D’Qwell Jackson knew Lerner better than most.
“Randy wanted us to win, man,” Jackson said. “I built a relationship with him and his kids. I wish him nothing but the best.
Page 2 of 2 - “But this new guy, Haslam. You can tell he’s a fan. He’s a fan of the game and he’s a fan of ... just people.
“I had a feeling when he first got here ... I think things are gonna change for the better.”