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From the NFL Combine: Back to the Joe Banner interview, not a tear-down

By Pat McManamon

Let’s catch up on the Joe Banner interview withe Cleveland media Saturday morning … stuff other than the story that appeared on this oh-so-lovely web site. (Click the link if you missed it.)

And there’s no sense saving the best for last.

The best thing I heard from the Browns CEO was that the team does not view this as a complete rebuild of the Cleveland Browns.

“I don’t think we need to gut it,” Banner said. “We have the benefit of inheriting two things here that will help us a lot. One is we have a relatively small number of our own players that we could possibly lose. So that always gives you a chance to move forward as opposed to retrench. Second, we inherited a team that’s in very good shape on the cap.”

Which means the Browns have about $40 million under the cap and they won’t be blowing up the roster and starting over, something that has happened so often since 1999. This statement combined with Banner’s statements that the team has a lot invested in Brandon Weeden and will give him a full chance to succeed indicates that at long last the Browns are going to build on what they have, not start over just because there is a new regime in place.

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus in the background.

Banner even downplayed moves like the ones pulled off by Eric Mangini and Mike Holmgren when they sent two former first-round draft picks — Kamerion Wimbley and Brady Quinn — elsewhere on the same day.

“I would not expect at this point in time that we are going to be receptive to trading our players,” Banner said. “We’re looking to build on the players we have. And take this thing to a higher level over some period of time.”

Banner also showed a  kind of refreshing “well if you don’t like it” attitude when he admitted fans have no doubt heard what he’s said before about quick fixes, sustainable winning and not cutting corners.

His plan is just to try to win not to try to convince the world it will work.

“ I said from day one I’m not really going to try to win that debate and I totally understand the skepticism,” he said. “I’m just confident that the quality of people we’re bringing in, the track record they have and I have, that we’ll be successful in this. But I don’t expect anybody to believe it until we prove it.”

Fair enough.

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