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The Suburbanite
  • Haslam stops in Canton, says cash flow to Berea is fine

  • The embattled owner of the Cleveland Browns spent much of Wednesday in Stark County before driving to the team complex, where camp opened Thursday.

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  • Jimmy Haslam’s last stop before digging in at Berea for training camp was Canton.
    The embattled owner of the Cleveland Browns spent much of Wednesday in Stark County before driving to the team complex, where camp opened Thursday.
     
    “I was in Ohio visiting truck stops most of the day,” Haslam said. “We just opened a new stop down in Canton.”
     
    Haslam was talking about a Pilot truck stop that was built and opened recently on the remains of the former Gulliver’s travel plaza.
     
    “I was quickly reminded of how strongly everybody feels about football in this area,” Haslam said. “I got out of my rental car and started walking to the store.
     
    “Before I got in the store I had two questions from two separate people. The first one was, ‘Jimmy, when are we going to start winning?’ The second one was, ‘Man, are we going to make the playoffs this year?’ ”
     
    We asked Haslam another question on everyone’s mind as practice got underway.
     
    Do the complicated lawsuits and investigations tied to his Pilot Flying J empire impact cash flow that could hurt the Browns?
     
    “I said this on Aug. 3 last year when we got here,” Haslam replied. “We’re committed to owning the Browns for a long period of time.
     
    “I understand that in Cleveland there’s a great deal of uncertainty because of past history, but our fans should not worry. Our family’s going to own this asset for a long, long time.
     
    “And we’re excited. There’s absolutely no worry about cash flow, and I think if there was, we wouldn’t be doing the things we are here in Berea. We wouldn’t have signed the free agents. We wouldn’t be talking about doing the things we are at the stadium. So we’re looking at this as a long-term vision.”
     
    Pilot Flying J is facing more than 20 lawsuits tied to a rebate scam.
     
    Is the fact Gulliver’s turned into Pilot almost overnight and has opened its doors a good sign for cash flow as it relates to the Browns?
     
    “Companies are good at certain things and not good at others,” Haslam said. “One of the things we’re good at is developing. That’s why we’re fortunate enough to have over 500 stops. We traditionally build our stops in about 120 days, and that’s what we did in Canton.”
     
    Reach Steve at 330-580-8347 or steve.doerschuk@cantonrep.com
     
    On Twitter: @sdoerschukREP