Ravens president Dick Cass will retire after 18 years with the organization and will be succeeded by former Cleveland Browns and Washington Wizards executive Sashi Brown, the team announced Friday.
Cass, 76, has long been Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti’s right-hand man, supervising every non-football aspect of the franchise while also participating in high-level football meetings. He has served as the team’s point person on everything from stadium improvements to relationships with elected officials to COVID-19 response.
Hiring Cass, a former Washington attorney, was Bisciotti’s first major move after he purchased a majority share of the Ravens from Art Modell in 2004.
Brown, 45, is expected to join the Ravens in March. He’ll officially take over for Cass on April 1, when he’ll join the Washington Commanders’ Jason Wright as the NFL’s only Black team presidents. Brown most recently served as president of Monumental Basketball, the umbrella organization established by Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis.
His move comes less than three months after receiving a multiyear extension from Monumental, where Brown had worked since 2019. He oversaw various operations for the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the NBA G League’s Capital City Go-Go. Brown also was a special adviser to Leonsis and oversaw Monumental Basketball’s chief of athlete care and performance, Daniel Medina.
The Harvard-educated attorney previously served as executive vice president of football operations for the Browns. He was the team’s top football official in 2016 and for most of 2017, a span in which the franchise won just one game. Brown was fired in December 2017, and said in a statement afterward that “our win-loss record since I became executive vice president isn’t going to cut it.”
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Upon his hiring in 2013 as Cleveland’s executive vice president and general counsel, Brown oversaw the roster and salary cap and directed the team’s football administration functions and player contract negotiations. On the business side, his duties included insurance and risk management, licensing and intellectual-property issues, and litigation and stadium matters.
Brown also served as a senior vice president and general counsel for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2005 to 2012. He was involved in both football and business operations there, too, including negotiations over the naming rights for EverBank Field (now TIAA Bank Field).
The Ravens’ hiring of Brown comes amid heightened scrutiny of NFL hiring practices. On Wednesday, former Cleveland coach Hue Jackson, who is also Black, told ESPN that the franchise had a “four-year plan” that incentivized losing during his first two years, 2016 and 2017. Kimberly Diemert, the executive director of the Hue Jackson Foundation, also alleged in a series of tweets Wednesday that the Browns paid Jackson and three team executives, including Brown, bonus money to tank during the 2016 and 2017 NFL seasons.
In a statement, a Browns spokesman denied the allegations: “The recent comments by Hue Jackson and his representatives relating to his tenure as our head coach are completely fabricated. Any accusation that any member of our organization was incentivized to deliberately lose games is categorically false.”
The Browns fired Jackson in October 2018 after the team started 2-5-1. Cleveland went on to finish 7-8-1.
“Unequivocally, Hue Jackson was never paid to lose games,” Browns owner Jimmy Haslam told the Knoxville News Sentinel on Thursday. “That is an absolute falsehood. And it’s also an absolute falsehood that I laughed while we were losing.”
After graduating from law school in 2002, Brown took his first job at the Washington firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, where Cass was a partner and senior manager. Cass gave him a recommendation for his first NFL job.