1. Today is the first home game in the Jimmy Haslam/Joe Banner era. The sale of the Browns from previous owner Randy Lerner to Haslam was officially completed Thursday, nine days after the sale was approved by NFL owners in Chicago. Banner, the new CEO, was scheduled to begin his tenure with the Browns on Thursday, but was called away due to the death of his father. He spent the past 19 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
2. Left guard Jason Pinkston was placed on injured reserve last week after he was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs. Pinkston was released from the hospital and visited his teammates Wednesday, but he is out of action for the remainder of the season. Youngstown native and University of Toledo standout John Greco started in Pinkston’s place last week and played well. He will start again today.
3. Veteran linebacker Scott Fujita (neck) was also placed on injured reserve. Fujita, an 11-year veteran, hasn’t played since Oct. 7 against the New York Giants and is contemplating retirement. Rookie James-Michael Johnson has filled in for Fujita at strongside linebacker. The Browns selected Johnson in the fourth round of the draft out of Nevada.
4. The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Chargers, who desperately needed the break after back-to-back collapses against the New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos. In a 31-24 loss, the Chargers allowed the Saints to turn a 10-point deficit into a seven-point win, giving up 17 unanswered points. Things got even worse when the Chargers blew a 24-point first-half lead by giving up 35 unanswered points in the second half in a 35-24 loss to the Broncos.
5. The Browns and Chargers share plenty of player and coaching connections. Chargers offensive lineman Rex Hadnot spent the 2008 and ’09 seasons with the Browns. … Chargers offensive line coach Mike Sullivan was a Browns assistant line coach for a combined six seasons (2001-04 and 2007-08). … Chargers college scout Jim Jauch spent five seasons in the Browns personnel department (2004-09).