As the lawsuits and the federal investigation over the Pilot Flying J rebate scheme drags on, you honestly have to wonder when the other shoe is going to drop.
Remember, folks, while the Browns seem to have hit an unlikely stride with a defense that has developed a nasty streak, compliments of defensive coordinator Ray Horton, and perhaps found a solid starter at quarterback in Brian Hoyer, this is still the Cleveland Browns.
And by that, you all know what that means. This is the same franchise that brought us The Drive, The Fumble, The Move, and, of course, The Last 14 Years.
So, while a 2-2 record and a current share of the AFC North lead may not seem to terribly impressive, for the Browns, this is considered progress the likes of which we haven’t seen in several years.
And this is where the other shoe dropping becomes such a concern to a lot of us. Keep in mind, the NFL has set precedent already with owners in legal trouble when Ed DeBartolo, Jr. ceded control of the San Francisco 49ers in 2000 for pleading to failing to report a felony. And he’s never been heard from again.
It has been reported that if charges do end up being filed against Haslam, his father, 82-year old Jimmy Haslam II, will assume control of the Browns. Yes, that’s right. Jimmy II is 82 years old, the same age as Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, and you see how that’s currently going.
Should that move be made, we will all start hand-wringing about what happens next. Again, with the DeBartolo case in mind, would it really surprise anyone in Cleveland if the Browns end up being owned by someone else not named Haslam in the worst-case scenario?
It’s not something any of us want to think about, but candidly (Yes, I’m doing this deliberately), the history of the Browns over the past 30 years would dictate nervousness. So, Mr. Haslam, try and ease our fears.