NFL NEWS AT YOUWAGER: BROWNS OWNER SAYS HE’S INNOCENT

After owning a piece of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jimmy Haslam has been the owner of the Cleveland Browns for one year. Now, Haslam is assuring the sports betting public that he won’t step down from his company, the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain, or his team, while the FBI investigates his company.

Haslam is president of Pilot Flying J. According to a YouWager news source, court documents reveal that sales persons working for the corporation deliberately withheld rebates and discounts for diesel fuel in order to increase company profits and sales commissions, and that Haslam knew all about it.

Haslam traveled from the Browns’s camp in Ohio to the company’s headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee, recently to proclaim his innocence. He told YouWager’s source, “I thought to myself, `Well, why would I do that?’ Candidly, I haven’t done anything wrong, No. 1. No. 2, if there’s ever a time the company needs our leadership, it’s right now.”

Haslam removed himself as CEO not long after he bought the Browns. But he returned to the corporation in February, telling YouWager’s source that he felt he needed to oversee the company that his father founded back in 1958. Haslam said he would not step down from the Browns, and that his role would continue. This announcement comes as Haslam prepares for his very first NFL Draft as the owner of the Cleveland Browns.

He told YouWager’s source, “No change. I look forward to the draft next week.”

Greg Aiello, a spokesman for the National Football League, said there was no effort underway to change Haslam’s involvement with his team during the FBI investigation.

Cleveland has the Number 6 overall pick in the upcoming draft. Cleveland’s CEO, Joe Banner and their general manager, Mike Lombardi, have not been verbal, publicly, about their NFL Draft strategy. As YouWager’s serious NFL football wagering fans surely know, Haslam’s Browns face incredible challenges to make the team a major contender. Cleveland has not made it to the playoffs since 2002. The club has seen 6 head coaches since 1999.

In 2012, Haslam arranged to purchase the Cleveland Browns from Randy Lerner for $1 billion. During the 2011 NFL football betting season, the franchise’s value was rated by industry analysts at $977 million. As any die-hard sportsbook bettor knows, Cleveland began the 2012 season with 5 losses in a row. Before that, they lost the last 6 games in 2011.

When YouWager’s source asked Haslam if he seriously intends to take the team all the way to the Super Bowl, as he has promised in the past, he smiled and said, “Eventually, yes.”

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