Joe Banner wants to deliver results, not promises, in his new role as CEO of the Browns.
Banner was formally introduced during a news conference this morning at the team’s headquarters in Berea. Banner, the former president of the Philadelphia Eagles, met owner Jimmy Haslam in June and became convinced the two would work well together while running an NFL franchise. They later found out it would be the Browns.
Banner is sensitive to the Browns’ troubles since their rebirth in 1999. The team has had only two winning seasons and one playoff appearance. It’s also had five management regimes before Banner’s arrival.
“I know these fans have been through a lot of hopeful starts, and I don’t want to sit up here and be kind of the next promiser in their lives,” Banner said. “We’re just gonna have to deliver. I know this: Nobody will work harder. No one will have a clearer direction.”
Banner didn’t want to specify a timetable for a turnaround, but he doesn’t want to settle for a five-year plan.
“No,” Banner said. “I’ll be in a straitjacket if it takes that long.”
Banner said he’s “competitive to a fault” and loves the thrill of trying to build a franchise from the ground up.
“For me, it’s like a chess game,” Banner said. “It’s just like an intellectual challenge. Can we put together the pieces, which is really about can we put together the right people? And people, again, it could be an assistant. It could be the quarterback of the team. It could be the head coach. It’s all of the above.
“Can we figure out who are those right people? Can we fit them together properly? Can we lead them properly? Can we create the right environment and culture that all that comes together and you’re literally in the top four to eight teams in the NFL and you’re there on a consistent basis? From where we are to where we are, that’s a big job, and I’m confident we can get there, and I’m excited by the challenge of getting us from here to there.”
Banner complimented coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert, both of whom he worked with in Philadelphia. He said it’s too early to say for certain whether there will be changes to the coaching staff and front office after this season.
“I have a lot of respect and good feelings for these people,” Banner said. “We will thoroughly evaluate everything, and time will answer that.”
Banner said he’ll be involved in football decisions, but the extent of his control over the roster will be determined by the strengths and weaknesses of the people with whom he works.
With Banner in as CEO, Browns President Mike Holmgren will retire after this season.