The fun never stops in Berea. Just weeks after the Cleveland Browns hired Mike Pettine as their new head coach, and the media was chastised for painting the team in an ill light, the front office has beeen shaken up in drastic fashion.
On Tuesday, the team announced that they have promoted Ray Farmer to General Manager and with Joe Banner stepping down in the next two months as he transitions out of his role as CEO. Farmer, who has spearheaded scouting through the offseason, will immediately take the over the team’s football operations and lead the Browns during free agency and the draft. Additionally, the team announced that General Manager Michael Lombardi is departing the organization. President Alec Scheiner will continue in charge of the organization’s business operations. Owner Jimmy Haslam made the announcement.
“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.
“We appreciate Joe’s contributions to the Cleveland Browns, especially in helping us as new owners. He was committed to creating a successful organization and bringing in talented individuals. We thank him for his work and dedication. We wish him and his family the best.
“Alec will continue in his role as President of this team. I think he’s one of the most intelligent and innovative young executives in the NFL.
“We’re also grateful for Mike Lombardi’s efforts and commitment since rejoining our organization. He is an experienced and creative NFL executive with a unique ability to see the big picture. He 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.
“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.”
When the Browns fired Rob Chudzinski following his first year on the job, the front office, led by Banner, was asked whether or not the team was being run by the “Three Stooges.” Throughout the team’s search for a head coach, there was considerable grumbling surrounding consternation amongst decision makers and overall team vision. Just a week ago, it was Banner who spoke highly of the situation in Berea, calling it one of the most desireable locations in the NFL.
And Banner’s parting words?
“It is bittersweet leaving the Browns organization. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Jimmy Haslam and helping him set the infrastructure for this franchise. I am proud of the talented individuals we brought in to help lead this team and feel that the Cleveland Browns are in good hands moving forward.”
That this news was not broken by any plugged-in reporter throughout the league speaks volumes.