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“He’s been extremely open with me and felt it was appropriate I knew what was going on and reinforce the very same messages he said publicly,” Banner said. “We certainly discussed it, but I know him. I have a lot of confidence in him. I wouldn’t say I had to be reassured.

“He’s either in or he’s not _ and he’s in.”

Based on his years in the league and knowing how it functions, Banner has always felt Haslam’s arrival would change the outside perception of the Browns. Despite the legal case, Banner doesn’t think much differently.

“Well, I think it’s not as pure as it was, but I don’t think it’s spoiled,” he said.

On other Browns-related issues, Banner said:

_ Wide receiver Josh Gordon has some work to do to earn back the team’s trust after being suspended two games for violating the league’s drug policy. “He understands he’s going to be held accountable and he gets the rope that’s left isn’t long,” Banner said. “In working with the coaches they need to see that commitment, that work ethic. Obviously, off the field he needs to make good choices.”

_ The Browns have sold more season tickets this offseason that at any time since 1999, and their renewal rate from last season was 94 percent.

_ Plans for major renovations at FirstEnergy Stadium will be announced in the near future, but the team has promised a cleaner facility this season and fans will have improved cell phone service.

_ Discussions have taken place about using artificial turf at the stadium, but the preference is to maintain a natural surface. “Maybe we’ve got to replace it a little more frequently during the season but our strong inclination is to play football frankly outdoors and on a grass field,” he said. “That could change but we have a strong inclination to do it that way.”