So, once again, lots of things are happening with the front office of the Browns organization. Browns CEO Joe Banner and GM Michael Lombardi are out. Although I’m truly tired of being the laughing stock franchise of the NFL, and I’m REALLY freaking tired of saying this, hopefully these changes will benefit the team and make 2014 a better year for Browns fans.
Let’s rewind a bit. I had a bit of a movie marathon last night, so I decided to sleep in. I’m having a lazy Tuesday. No work and nothing to do until 9 pm. I’m wasting time scrolling through Facebook when all of a sudden a story catches my eye. I think “Hmm, this can’t be real. It must be fake like the fake Olympic story that went viral about the death of the guy who programed the rings for the opening ceremony who failed to make all 5 open (even though they did on Russian TV [technology magic], but that’s neither here nor there).” Like that story, I thought this must be a satirical story, so I clicked; it wasn’t. Well here goes…
Per the usual, the Cleveland Browns are making waves within the organization with the announcement that BOTH Michael Lombardi, Browns GM, and Joe Banner, Browns CEO, are OUT. No that’s not a mistake; they’re gone. The Browns have also announced (much to my surprise), that they have promoted Ray Farmer (who was the assistant GM) to Browns General Manager. This is a nice change… they fire someone and already have someone for the job rather than being forced into a very public and grueling search for a replacement. As for the CEO, that will take time, but Banner will be stepping down within the next two months, so we still have some time to deal with that. We didn’t, however, fire President Alec Scheiner, who will continue to run the business operations of the Browns Organization.
Browns owner, Jimmy Haslam’s statements about the changes were, well, typical for an owner. If nothing else, Haslam is always by the book with press conferences. First he made statements about Ray Farmer, saying that:
“First of all, we wanted to capitalize on the knowledge, experience and character we’re fortunate to have in Ray Farmer. Ray has a tremendous football IQ, he’s compelling, and he understands the types of players we need to acquire and develop in order to win in Cleveland. He embraces his partnership with Mike Pettine, which is critical in helping build the right team. Ray will provide excellent leadership in our front office.”
Having a GM and a head coach that work TOGETHER in a partnership rather than a GM dictatorship (as it was under Lombardi) will be a welcome change. Let’s hope it actually stays that way. Next he stated his appreciation for all the contributions Banner made to the team and the assistance during the transition to new ownership.
Haslam also praised Lombardi’s efforts and commitment to the organization. Then I get confused because he says, “He [Lombardi] has tremendous instincts and I know he’ll be a valuable addition to any NFL organization. We simply wanted to give Ray this opportunity that he’s earned. We wanted to move forward under his leadership and capabilities.”
That statement seems to imply (or perhaps it’s just me) that there was no real reason behind Lombardi leaving, other than they wanted to give Farmer a chance to run the team. I don’t know, but thinking about it makes my head hurt.
Like I said, I’m really hoping that this is the right move. With the movie “Draft Day” coming out relatively soon, it will bring a lot more attention to the Browns team and organization. I would really like us to have our stuff together by then. Haslam ended his statement by saying “The purpose of these moves is to unify our team with one, unequivocal goal: Provide our fans with the winning organization they have long deserved.” Yea, no kidding, Jimmy.