On Tuesday morning when the Cleveland Browns disseminated the changes that were taking place in Berea, it appeared to be wrath wrought in the wake of impulsive decisions made by an impatient billionaire. Turns out that Browns majority owner Jimmy Haslam III, rather than choosing sides, decided that he had had enough of the drama unfolding behind closed doors.
Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Mary Kay Cabot reports that in addition to Haslam growing tired of the negative perception surrounding the other two Stooges, CEO in Joe Banner and general manager in Mike Lombardi, the two men he fired were not exactly seeing eye-to-eye.
Browns CEO Joe Banner and his top lieutenant Mike Lombardi ended on bad terms with each other, and their discord led to Jimmy Haslam firing both, league sources told cleveland.com. Banner and Lombardi clashed over a number of things, but the disconnect came to a head during the tumultuous 25-day coaching search. […]
Banner wanted to fire his embattled GM, and Lombardi knew it. If he didn’t know, he missed the writing on the wall. But what Banner didn’t know — and should have — was that Haslam had also grown weary of him during the search — portrayed as dysfunctional in the local and national media — and was gearing up to fire him. The owner and the CEO didn’t see eye-to-eye over a number of candidates, and Haslam came to feel that Banner was the reason some didn’t want to interview for — or accept — his coaching job.
Earlier this week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Haslam’s discontent with Banner dated back 13 months when Chip Kelly, Haslam’s No. 1 target to take over for Pat Shurmur, opted to stay in Oregon. This decision, as has been reported, stemmed from a disagreement over Kelly’s control over his roster as well as his selections for assistant coaches. As it was, the assistant coaching non-starter also reportedly impacted the interview of Ken Whisenhunt as Joe Banner, ever the football man, felt that Wisenhunt’s selection for coordinators was not up to par.
In addition to notes on Josh McDaniels, Mike Pettine and others, sources also reportedly told Cabot that former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, who was the top candidate of many vacancies this off-season, wasn’t interested in interviewing with the Browns this year because of the management team in place. At the end of it all, despite all of his proclamations to the contrary, the common denominator in all of these reports appears to be the bespectacled former CEO, the man who attempted to wield a bit too much power—giving his head coach in-season ultimatums, firing said head coach, attempting to oust his general manager—only to be left with a pink slip of his own, all while the “lazy media” “created” a “narrative” of dysfunction. The nerve.