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Browns add to new management, hire president

Browns add to new management, hire president

BEREA, Ohio (AP) New Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his CEO, Joe Banner, have several personnel decisions to make once the season ends.

You can scratch president off their list, however.

With potentially more changes ahead for the new-look Browns over the next two weeks, Haslam and Banner announced on Tuesday they had hired Alec Scheiner to be the team's new president.

Scheiner, 39, will join Cleveland after eight years with the Cowboys. He was senior vice president and general counsel with Dallas the last five years.

``Alec and I started talking last June. We had a series of meetings,'' Banner said. ``We just felt like it was a great fit. He's going to impact the organization in a lot of ways.''

Scheiner will quarterback the Browns' day-to-day business operations in his new post, which will begin Jan. 7, and will focus on improving the team's gameday atmosphere at home games.

``We really want to enhance the fan experience everywhere. Wherever we can,'' Scheiner said. ``We have a challenge, and we will work hard on it.

``We want to create something that links us to the past, and to the community.''

Scheiner, raised in Lower Merion, Pa., attended Georgetown, and in 2008, took over the Cowboys' business operations, which included football analytics. He was a key cog in the fan experience at highly regarded Cowboys Stadium, which opened on May 27, 2009, and hosted the Super Bowl on Feb. 6, 2011.

``I want to thank the Cowboys for making my eight years there some of the most rewarding of my professional career,'' Scheiner said. ``I am looking forward to this challenge with the Browns, which I view as a tremendous opportunity to start at the ground level with a new and exciting leadership group.''

That unit, of course, features Haslam and Banner as the Browns look to create a new identity in the offseason.

``Jimmy and Joe have a great vision of what they want the Cleveland Browns to become and I am grateful to be able to be a part of it,'' Scheiner said. ``The Browns are an iconic franchise with an outstanding fan base and tradition. Together, we hope to do incredible things for the organization.''

Whether or not the coach will be with them - as that long-term vision plays out - remains to be seen. Cleveland began the season 0-5 under Pat Shurmur, who is in his season year. The Browns have persevered, though, and actually orchestrated a three-game winning streak late in the year. But they are still just 5-9 and in last place of the AFC North with two difficult games approaching - Denver (11-3) and Pittsburgh (7-7) - to end the season.

``We have not made decisions, but obviously, as time has gone on, we have thought about it more,'' said Banner, who said staffing decisions will be made ``quickly'' after the season finale. ``But we're not at the point where we've made definitive decisions.

``Our driving force is to gather a group of smart, effective people.''

Scheiner clearly plays into that mindset.

``For many years, the Cowboys have been a leading innovator among NFL franchises, and Alec played an integral role in this success,'' Haslam said. ``We are confident that his expertise will be a tremendous asset, not only for our organization but our fans as well.''

In 2010, Scheiner made the Sports Business Journal's ``Forty Under 40'' list.

``Our objective is to build the Browns organization with the best people in their respective fields, and we believe the hiring of Alec is indicative of this goal,'' Banner said. ``Alec brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in many facets with one of the most successful franchises in the NFL.''

Dallas owner Jerry Jones, for one, will certainly miss Scheiner's efforts.

``Alec is a bright and talented executive who has provided our organization with quality service. He knows his way around the NFL and has fine leadership ability,'' Jones said. ``He is a tireless taskmaster and will be a great addition to the Browns front office.

``He is a rising star and an asset to our league.''

In a conference call with the media, Scheiner was asked about the Browns' traditional ways - what with the logo-less helmets and classic uniforms. Scheiner didn't think too many changes were needed in that realm, and he was quick to embrace the team's tradition along the way.

``It's more about connecting with what he have already ... in more effective ways,'' he said. ``You can always do better.''

That said, Banner explained that Scheiner would have a say in any decisions regarding the potential modernization of the team's look, something that has been rumored as a consideration in the new era.

``He would contribute to that. He would be part of that discussion,'' Banner said. ``But that would be something that ultimately will be Jimmy's decision.''

As for cheerleaders, well, Scheiner is going from a franchise that is famous for them to one that doesn't even have them.

And, new regime or not, that appears like it'll stay that way.

``I don't think we're focused on that decision,'' Banner said with a laugh. ``It's not something we've spent time on.''

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NOTES: LB James-Michael Johnson and DB T.J. Ward were placed on injured reserve with knee injuries. Both Johnson, a rookie, and Ward are starters for a defense that allows 22.1 points per game. Johnson made eight starts, played in 10 games and finished with 35 tackles. His role expanded when Scott Fujita sustained a season-ending neck injury. Ward had 68 tackles and one interception. ... The Browns are 3-0 vs. the AFC West, with the first-place Broncos on deck.

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Why Thomas Bryant's defensive showing against Joel Embiid could speak volumes for Wizards' future

Why Thomas Bryant's defensive showing against Joel Embiid could speak volumes for Wizards' future

The Wizards, as they are expected to be constructed next season, should be uniquely good on the offensive end. They could have Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans (if he re-signs), two of the game's most lethal shooters, spreading the floor. Rui Hachimura has the potential to be elite in the midrange and Thomas Bryant is one of the league's most efficient scorers around the rim.

Then, you have John Wall distributing the ball. There are three levels of offense and the Wizards could have all of them covered with a generational passer setting everyone up. That has the potential to be the type of offense with very little, if any, weaknesses. 

But the defensive end could be a completely different story. None of the aforementioned players are elite defenders and the Wizards posted the worst defensive rating in the NBA this season at 115.6.

That's what made a particular development in the Wizards' loss to the Sixers on Wednesday encouraging. Bryant more than held his own against Joel Embiid, one of the NBA's best offensive centers and arguably the league's most imposing physical force. 

Bryant held Embiid to 3-for-11 shooting while The Process went 8-for-11 against his teammates. Bryant had 19 total contested shots in the game and held his match-ups to 33.3 percent shooting overall. He blocked four shots, which tied a career-high.

"It was his best defensive game I've ever seen him play," head coach Scott Brooks said. "He was aware, he was anticipating, his hands were up and he jumped. If you just do those things, you give yourself a chance for a defensive stop at the rim. I thought tonight he was outstanding pretty much on both ends."

Bryant has some physical tools that lend themselves to the defensive end. He's one of the fastest centers up and down the floor in the NBA. And he has a 7-foot-6 wingspan. Of all players drafted since 2013, only five players have registered bigger wingspans at the combine: Mo Bamba, Bol Bol, Tacko Fall, Zhou Qi and Ike Anigbogu.

Bryant knows his potential on that end of the floor and how he hasn't really come close to reaching his full ceiling in the NBA. When told of Brooks' praise, he downplayed it as just one game.

"It's a step in the right direction. Keep improving every day, that's my main thing, especially on the defensive end," Bryant said.

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Consistency will be key. In the Wizards' previous game against the Pacers, Myles Turner went 5-for-5 while guarded by Bryant. In the team's season opener, DeAndre Ayton went 3-for-5 against him.

But if Bryant can establish some stability on that end, it could solve a lot of problems for the Wizards. Rim protector is again going to be a big priority for them this offseason, as it has essentially been annually. Finding solutions in that area is just very difficult to do. 

Teams that have good shot-blockers don't let them go and when they leave in free agency, they are expensive. If you draft rim protectors, they often take time to develop.

The Wizards, though, arguably need one now more than ever before. They are about to reinsert Wall into the lineup with a surgically repaired Achilles. As much as people have focused on his offense and how his speed could be affected, the defensive end should be the biggest concern.

The injury notoriously affects lateral movement and Wall will have to stay in front of NBA point guards, who are some of the quickest athletes in the world. Defensive structure around him could help compensate and a rim protector would provide a security blanket behind him.

Bryant has a long way to go to fill that void, and he knows it. But Wednesday was, like he said, a step in the right direction.

NBA.com advanced stats were used as part of this research

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Maryland's Mike Locksley forms minority football coaches coalition

Maryland's Mike Locksley forms minority football coaches coalition

There are only three Black coaches out of 32 in the NFL and only 14 out of 130 FBS football coaches are Black. Maryland head coach Mike Locksley is taking steps to change that pattern.

Locksley announced the formation of the Nationals Coalition of Minority Football Coaches Thursday, a non-profit organization focused on helping male or female football coaches of color gain exposure in the hiring process. 

"When I took the Maryland job last year and looked at the landscape of college football, I thought to myself, 'There's something missing. I'm on the back nine of my career and the pathway to becoming a head coach is still as difficult as when I got into the business in 1992,'" Locksley told NFL.com's Jim Trotter. "I wanted to create an organization that would be able to help prepare, promote and produce the next group of coaches coming up through the ranks at every level."

The coalition's goals are to find and groom football coaches of color as well as provide a list of board-approved candidates for job openings in both the NFL and the college ranks. 

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There are 11 board members, featuring Ravens owner Ozzie Newsome, Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, Washington Football Team executive Doug Williams and Dolphins general manager Chris Grier. 

"We want to use their experiences to help us formulate and produce the list of qualified candidates, so when people say there aren't enough minorities to fill the positions that have come open over the years, we're going to produce a list of qualified people that shows there are qualified people," Locksley said. 

While the coalition isn't expected to provide its first list for several months as the organization continues to settle in, Locksley hopes he and the board members can leverage their experience and relationships to ensure franchise's and universities aren't overlooking qualified candidates. 

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