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Jimmy Haslam: Pursuit of Deshaun Watson came from football operations, not ownership

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam says he’s not the one who first decided his team would attempt to trade for quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Haslam said that the Browns’ football operations department felt that acquiring Watson could help the team, and once they started looking into it, everyone else got on board.

“It was definitely conceived by football operations,” Haslam said. “I can tell you it was widely vetted throughout our organization, including ownership, but it was conceived in football operations.”

That may seem like passing the buck from Haslam, who knows that the Browns are getting harsh criticism for going after Watson amid accusations of sexual assault and improper behavior toward 22 different female massage therapists.

But it’s also the reality that the whole point of bringing in Watson is the belief that he can help them win. And Andrew Berry, whose full title is Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager, appears to be the one who thinks Watson can help the Browns win, and thinks acquiring him is worth the message it sends about the franchise -- a message Haslam was more than happy to sign on with.