Former Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano, who likes Jimmy Haslam, warns the team’s new owner against becoming a stranger.

In the parking lot at Tozzi’s on 12th after a speech to the Hall of Fame Luncheon Club, Rutigliano wondered whether the promise of a hands-on owner will be compromised by an announcement earlier in the day: Haslam has reclaimed the role of Pilot Flying J CEO, which he gave up last autumn after buying the Browns.

“Regardless of what anyone says,” Rutigliano said, “owner is the most important position in the organization.”

Rutigliano, who spent seven seasons piloting the Browns, said the team has spent way too many years kicking around “the triple-A triangle.” President Joe Banner, personnel chief Michael Lombardi and head coach Rob Chudzinski enter their first season together in what Rutigliano characterizes as that “triangle.”

He said strong ownership groups such as Pittsburgh’s Rooneys and New England’s Krafts never lose touch with the triangle. If Haslam is “putting all of his eggs” in the Banner-Lombardi-Chudzinski “basket,” Rutigliano said, “Jimmy needs to be sure he’s watching the eggs.”

Haslam said in a speech in Canton last week that he will take a hands-on approach with the Browns. Haslam is easily the most dynamic public speaker the Browns have. The same was true of Mike Holmgren when he was team president, but he made what many consider a great mistake in rarely appearing in the public eye.

Haslam’s speech in Canton alone counts for something. Holmgren was never here to give one.