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Heckert: 'Business as usual' as Browns change hands

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The impending sale of the Cleveland Browns to Tennessee businessman Jimmy Haslam III comes at an interesting time for the franchise.

Two seasons into Mike Holmgren's reclamation project, the Browns are poised to blow up the machine all over again. General manager Tom Heckert admits the future is cloudy.

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"Until we sit down with the new owner, no one's really sure what's going to happen," Heckert told Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer. "I've told the guys on my staff and some of the players to just keep doing what they're doing. From a football standpoint, there's not a whole lot that can be changed at this point, so it's got to be business as usual."

Former Philadelphia Eagles president Joe Banner reportedly is part of the Haslam contingent descending to buy out majority owner Randy Lerner. Banner built ties to Heckert, coach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress with the Eagles, but a power shift promises nothing. We expect Holmgren to bolt, and his hand-picked guys -- especially the unproven Shurmur -- have been tossed into choppy waters.

Heckert reportedly parted on bad terms with Banner in Philly, but a source told the newspaper that wasn't the case. Heckert has drafted well in Cleveland, and an insider told Cabot that Banner & Co. would allow the 2012 season to run its course before ripping up the floorboards. It was just two seasons ago that Holmgren extended Eric Mangini a similar (totally ominous) one-year trial. Mangenius is now a talking head on ESPN, and he soon might have company.

Change in Cleveland -- again -- is on the horizon.

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