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Haslam gets used to a new shade of orange in Cleveland

6:42 AM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
Cleveland Browns new owner Jimmy Haslam sits in the 'Dog Pound' in the first half of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns Stadium on August 24, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Whether on Rocky Top or the Rust Belt, football reigns supreme for the Cleveland Browns new owner,  Jimmy Haslam.

"The similarities between how Knoxville lives and dies for Tennessee football and how Cleveland lives and dies for the Browns are exactly the same," said Haslam.

For the Pilot Flying J travel center mogul, the passion for the game was fostered by his father, Pilot founder, Jim Haslam. The elder Haslam played for the Tennessee Vols. It's only natural this self-professed football family set their sights on the NFL.

In 2008, Jimmy Haslam got the opportunity to buy a minority share of the Browns' arch rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But Haslam adds, "I was a Steelers fan for four years, but that all changed on August 3."

That's when Haslam bought  the Cleveland Browns for $1 billion.

"We're 1000 percent Cleveland Browns fans now."

But Haslam knows time and commitment are the building blocks to winning in business and on the football field.

"Your assets are your people. People really determine your success, " Haslam said. " We say all the time at Pilot Flying J the team with the best players wins, and being around the NFL even this short time has reminded me of that even more."

In a matter of  those few shorts months, Browns fans know Haslam by name and reputation.

A faithful fan said, "He's a pretty reputable guy. He's built a great company."

Another fan added, "He's going to change the culture for the Browns."

The Browns had their first win of the season over the Cincinnati Bengals on October 14th. Just days after that victory, Haslam replaced team president Mike Holmgren, thus setting his game plan in motion.

"We're a young team. We're getting better, but we are nowhere where we need to be," Haslam said. "This is a young franchise that hasn't won in a long time so we have our work cut out for us."

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