July 30, 2005

Randy Lerner Interview

Browns Owner Randy Lerner talks about the team's approach to Kellen Winslow Jr.'s contract/injury situation, and about his new Head Coach and new quarterback in a wide-ranging interview...

Q: It has been reported that the team withheld Kellen Winslow’s $2-million signing bonus but didn’t go after any the money he has already been paid. What was the team’s philosophy?

A: The philosophy is that Phil feels he is a player that can contribute. That professional analysis has led to John and Trip trying to structure an understanding between Kellen, his family and his agent that would reflect our sense that he is going to be an important part of our team, but that we have had to manage our financial affairs, among others, differently given the accident.

That said, the communication is on-going. Whatever moves you see are consistent with those conversations. Those conversations are serious and happening now and Kellen and his family have been very communicative and direct and we’re working through it. We’ve had a lot of meetings and the goal is to try and avoid having a situation that doesn’t work out and doesn’t give him the opportunity to make a difference with the team. I think we’re doing that in good faith. I think the conversations have been productive.

Q: Is he going to have the ability to earn back any of the surrendered money?

We are currently discussing a structure that includes the ability to earn the lion’s share of what he could’ve made.

Q: If you’re too lenient, are you worried about taking the teeth out of that clause in the contract?

A: You definitely take the teeth out if you’re doing nothing other than saying, ‘Come back and make the same amount of money,’ but I don’t think this contract does that. I don’t think the new proposal does that. I think the new proposal defends the Browns and its rights, but also offers the opportunity for the player. It is a restructured fresh look at the facts. It is not us lying down.

Posted by dan at July 30, 2005 10:39 PM