BEREA — Only a week or so ago, the cast of characters on the dais Tuesday was, at best, an unlikely cast of characters to be running the Browns.
The four individuals were introduced as the four primary football men running the Browns. From left to right, seated were Brian Wiedmeier, Mike Holmgren, Eric Mangini and Tom Heckert.
Heckert and Wiedmeier were introduced to the local media as the two newest members of the organization. Heckert was one of the worst kept secrets to become general manager but Wiedmeier was somewhat of a surprise as he left a 29 year career with the Dolphins to join the Browns. He was named Executive VP of Operations.
Holmgren wouldn’t go into the specifics of who would be responsible to whom, but he did make it clear that the foursome will be making all of the football decisions.
“I know there’s a lot of curiosity about responsibility,” Holmgren said. “It is my hope and continues to be my hope that the decisions going forward will be made by these guys here.
“Right now, we’re working those things out,” he said. “Whatever it happens to be, it will be thought through, discussed and argued, but the decision will not be a Mike Holmgren decision, a Eric Mangini decision, a Tom Heckert decision, it will be a Cleveland Browns decision.
“We feel very fortunate to hire both of these men, who have an excellent track record in football.”
Heckert, who grew up a Browns fans while his dad was a scout for the Browns, said the timing was right for him to join the Browns.
“It was exciting back then because I was a loge attendant and my first experience to the NFL was with the Browns and my dad when he was a scout,” Heckert said.
Heckert said the reason he didn’t join the Browns a year ago was not due to Mangini being the coach.
“I know there are some ideas out there that it had something to do with Eric,” he said. “It was a situation that I had a very good situation in Philadelphia and I only thought I would leave if I felt it was the best time for me.
“It’s a very exciting time and I talked about when was the time to leave,” Heckert said. “(The Eagles) always told me that if I found the right situation, I could leave. After talking with Mike it seems like the right situation.”
Heckert said he hasn’t had time to evaluate the current Browns roster, but said the goal is the same.
“We’ve never really had that discussion,” Heckert said. “We want to make the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl. We want to get this team a winning record, as soon as possible.”
Heckert is excited the Browns currently have 11 draft picks in this year’s draft.
“The more picks you can get, the better you are,” Heckert said. “The best is to not have a need, but if you can address it in free agency, hopefully, we can take the best player available.”
Wiedmeier joins the Browns after a 29-year career with the Dolphins, where he worked with Don Shula.
“One thing I learned a long time ago, it’s not the time for the business guy to talk a lot,” he said. “The opportunity to get the Browns franchise back to where it was is a great opportunity.
“I would like to say how excited I am to be part of the Browns,” he said. “To be able to work with Mike and Tom and these guys, I’m extremely excited. I talked to Don Shula about how he started here and is from here.”
Holmgren said that he tried to bring Wiedmeier to Seattle to join him there.
“I kind of wore Brian down,” Holmgren said. “I thought I had him coming to Seattle a few years ago, but I learned from my mistakes and we got him this time.”
Heckert said his philosophy meshes with that of Mangini’s.
“We want quality, character people,” he said. “The last four games prove that and it’s a good start and a good way to end the season.”
Heckert said final say on the 53-man roster wasn’t a big deal to him.
“It’s not a big deal to me and we’ll all work together for the same goal.”