Not long after Jimmy Haslam bought the Browns, Joe Banner was hired to be the team's CEO and Haslam's top adviser.
Less than a year and a half later, Haslam shocked everyone by kicking his right-hand man to the curb.
Today, just over six months after he was let loose, Banner opened up about his departure. The former Browns CEO spoke with Bob Papa and Ross Tucker on the Opening Drive Sirius NFL XM.
Interestingly enough, the interview was set up via Twitter.
@RossTuckerNFL What time— Joe Banner (@JoeBanner13) August 26, 2014
Joe Banner recently joined Twitter on August 22. Since sending out his first Tweet, Banner has picked up 4,947 followers.
You can hear the audio portion of the interview here, but I have transcribed it below.
OD: "Were you as surprised [about you being fired] as I was?
Joe Banner: "Yeah, to be honest. We had a nice conversation, the owner was standing right there with us, my family was there. We had finally just resolved and felt very good about the hiring of the new coach and staff we had put together. We were, at least I was, filled with the anticipation now that we could focus on free agency and the draft. We had about $55 million in cap room and 10 draft picks, so we felt that we were in an exceptionally well position, and that had been a really big goal from the previous year. So it was quite a surprise. I thought we were setting things up well and I think we did. I think the franchise has the opportunity to move forward and be more successful than it has been."
OD: "How much pride, Joe, do you take in the fact that you had set them up pretty good? I'm sure that was pretty hard to think about when you first moved on from Cleveland, but all the cap space, the picks, that Trent Richardson trade looks amazing right now. Are you able to look at what you set in place, and even the way I think, Joe, the way Mike Pettine has conducted himself so far, even though you're not there anymore, you still set them up in pretty good position?"
JB: "To be honest, you feel a little bit of both. Disappointment that you're not going to get to take it to the next step and some pride. I think the other thing that I think we did that the team will benefit quite a bit from is the defensive front. If you look at all of the teams that are successful, they have pretty strong defensive fronts. I think most of the third downs are going to be made up of [Barkevious] Mingo, [Paul] Kruger, Desmond Bryant and Armonty Bryant. All four of those players are guys we picked up last year while we only used five draft picks, pushing draft picks forward, pushing cap room forward. To add four guys who will be the key for the front of the defense, which I think will be very good, put that together with the picks and the cap room, at least that's an opportunity there for some real success. I think Mike's done a really good job. I think Ray Farmer's done a great job to put together a great crew so I do feel good about that, but it still hurts to not be part of seeing it through and trying to complete the project."
OD: Joe, you were the one who really hired Mike Pettine. Since he's still there, for our listeners, what did you like so much about him? Why was he the guy? Because I know you guys interviewed a lot of people.
JB: "We were very clear on what we were looking for. The biggest thing was we were looking for someone who was a very strong leader, someone we thought would hire an excellent staff and do a really good job managing them. We wanted someone who was a detail-oriented person with very strong, clear philosophical beliefs that we thought they were going to stick with, no matter what, whether it was media pressure, not getting off or whatever may happen, and just stick to your beliefs. Really, the things we think the most successful coaches in the league have had. It's hard, let me tell you. You interview these coaches for a total of 7-9 hours and you're making a crucial decision for the organization that you hope will hold for the next 10 years. We did this when Andy Reid, it held for 14 , which is unusual. With Mike, we'll see what happens. Anybody doing it will tell you, it's very scary to have really a modest amount of time to get to know somebody and make such an important decision. Because really, you're not going to be successful, no matter what you do, unless you have a really good coach and a coaching staff. But we found in him the qualities that we were looking for, and hopefully that assessment was right. I think so far he's seeing the signs that he is what we thought we were getting."