In a chat with reporters earlier today, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam confirmed that GM Ray Farmer sent text messages to other members of the organization during games this past season, as Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal writes. Still, Haslam remains in Farmer’s corner.
“I think Ray Farmer knows and has [privately] said that he made a mistake in sending those texts,” Haslam said. “Ray feels terrible about it. Ray’s a guy — I’ve known a lot of people — I think he has utmost integrity. And I think it’s important for you all to know that Ray has the organization’s and my full support, and despite the fact that he made a mistake here, it does not affect his standing with the Browns. He is totally focused on doing whatever we’re going to do in free agency and more importantly getting our organization ready for the draft.”
More highlights from Haslam’s chat..
- Haslam is glad to see Johnny Manziel entering rehab. “I applaud him for raising his hand and saying I need help,” the owner said. He added that it’s way too early to give up on the polarizing quarterback and the organization “absolutely” believes that he can be a starter in the NFL.
- The owner said that he didn’t mandate Manziel going to rehab and has no expectations for when he might rejoin the team.
- Some are wondering why the Browns went ahead with drafting Manziel in the face of red flags, but Haslam inferred that the team might not have known everything about his history. “I don’t know how much of Johnny’s personal life was known by everybody then,” Haslam said.
- Back in May, former Browns quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains said a text he received from Manziel on the first night of the 2014 draft helped get the ball rolling towards picking him. However, Haslam said that story isn’t accurate and reiterated that Manziel was their top QB on the board.
- The Browns are “going to explore every option” when it comes to re-signing quarterback Brian Hoyer, Haslam said.
- Haslam wouldn’t rule out possibly trading up to draft a quarterback in the first round. “We’ve said we would do what’s necessary to solve the quarterback situation,” explained the owner.
- Haslam expressed disappointment in wide receiver Josh Gordon, saying that he has failed to accept responsibility for his actions. For at least the next year, he says, the franchise has moved on from Gordon.
- The Browns will be less involved in free agency than they were last year, according to the owner.
- The Browns love restricted free agent free safety Tashaun Gipson, Haslam said. The team is working to keep him.
- Despite rumors of heavy fighting within the organization, Haslam says things are going well in Cleveland. He added that it’s a misconception that coaches and executives want out of Cleveland and that the key people like working for the Browns.