It was all but assumed that Cleveland Browns assistant general manager Ray Farmer was going to be the next GM of the Miami Dolphins. After several weeks of discussion, Farmer decided to withdraw his name from consideration, sticking with the Browns’ ongoing quest for respectability. Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Mary Kay Cabot caught up with Farmer and team CEO Joe Banner this week to discuss the team’s ability to keep the 39-year-old up-and-coming executive.
In what was a very quote-heavy piece, Farmer and Banner both managed to provide some gems—each ranging from motivational and optimistic to outright head-scratching.
I think Cleveland is primed and I think we’re in a position to redefine the history books. I think change is on the horizon and I didn’t want to miss what’s going to happen in Cleveland.
Given that the definition of “history books” is, and will always be, the documentation of knowledge dealing with past events, it will be essentially impossible for an NFL franchise to redefine anything, let alone this very term. Rewriting history is a commonly used cliché, predominantly in sports, but even this would be difficult to do given the Internet and all. What the Browns can do is add on a few subsequent chapters that allow fans and media alike to focus on positive items—like wins, for example. So we’ll go with that.
The voice of one became the voice that got quoted in every story that was written. It had nothing to do with reality. Some of the most desirable people in all of sports have come to Cleveland since Jimmy and I took over, including Rob Chudzinski, Norv Turner, Ray Horton, Mike Pettine, Alec Scheiner and Sashi Brown. Players like Des Bryant and Paul Kruger chose us over others cities, not to mention all of the people that desperately wanted this head coaching job. The evidence — which nobody wanted to bother with — is that this is an extremely desirable place and all of the actions by so many people are proof of that.’
Talk about cranking the troll dial up to maximum output. I don’t even know where to start.
Let’s move on. Here, Joe discusses the team’s desire to keep Mike Lombardi (and Farmer) behind the scenes.
I’ve never seen a sports team have more than one voice other than the head coach that speaks for the organization. That’s what we do in Cleveland, but somehow that’s become controversial. Teams don’t put out multiple layers of people and usually the media doesn’t want to speak to anybody other than the kind of decision-makers and as high up in the organization as they can get — so no, Ray won’t be any more of a public face than he’s been. […] They want to bash Mike. You’d like to think people would rise above that, but it just doesn’t happen. I never heard of the media that can speak to the higher level executive or to the lower level executive and they’re clamoring to speak to the lower level executive.
So if there are any key takeaways, keeping Farmer in Berea is absolutely a big deal. The guy is highly regarded throughout the NFL. The Browns promoted Lombardi with the sole goal of getting Farmer in Cleveland. He was the man who has led much of the scouting efforts for the team and was watching every snap of the Senior Bowl last month. When Farmer was interviewing with the Dolphins ownership team, there was some clamoring for the team to remove their current general manager and promote from within. Keeping Farmer may have been the biggest “move” of the team’s all-too-young offseason.
Also, the team was willing to fire some of the “most desirable” people in all of sports—one of which is still unemployed at this very moment.
Image: Jennifer Nawalaniec, Cleveland Browns