- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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No one expected new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to fire team president Mike Holmgren in his introductory news conference. But no one expected him to praise Holmgren either.
Wearing an orange tie and a bright smile, Haslam complimented Holmgren several times and even described him as a "future Hall of Famer."
"I sense there is a strong feeling here that Mike and the team have things headed in the right direction," Haslam said. "I think we have to listen, learn and observe. ... I think they'll be successful over time."
Many observers believe Holmgren will be gone because Joe Banner, Haslam's unofficial consultant and a former executive for the Eagles, could end up running the organization. This could still happen because Haslam also didn't say Holmgren was staying.
But Haslam's statement that the Browns are "headed in the right direction" shows that he is aware of the work being done by Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert. Whether he will allow them to see their plan through remains up in the air.
4hField Yates and Rich Cimini