BEREA – With the hiring of former NFL Network analyst, Mike Lombardi as vice president of player personnel by the Cleveland Browns, it gives both Lombardi and Browns fans a chance to make amends for things done in the past.
Lombardi, who prior to his hiring, was universally unpopular and reviled for being the man behind the sacking of former Browns quarterback and civic hero, Bernie Kosar in 1993, is still hated in various pockets of Northeast Ohio for his questionable moves that were made over 20 years ago.
One of them being the selection of fullback Tommy “Touchdown” Vardell out of Stanford ninth overall in the 1992 NFL Draft, still stings amongst many fans, even to this day, many will never—or have never forgiven Lombardi for his role in Kosar’s release.
Other moves under Lombardi’s watch as Pro Personnel Director in 1987, till his promotion to Director of Player Personnel in 1992 under former head coach, Bill Belichick included the signing of free agent wide receiver Andre Rison, the drafting of Eric Turner, Steve Everett, Leroy Hoard, Eric Metcalf and Michael Dean Perry.
So for all of his questionable misses such as Mike Junkin, Eric Zeier and Craig Powell, Lombardi’s selections helped provide Cleveland with their last truly competitive team before moving to Baltimore in 1996.
To those who are still bitter and resentful towards Lombardi, it is time to move on and grow up. It is 2013, not 1994, or whatever time machine you chose to write your own revisionist history in.
While this column is neither an endorsement or an attack on Lombardi, holding a grudge for a personnel decision made two decades ago is both childish and immature.
Browns fans—to an extreme fault—are so emotionally invested in their team that they can come across as very opinionated, vocal and outspoken at times , In the case of Lombardi, it is time to move forward and not dwell on the past, let alone his.
Make no mistake, Lombardi is no saint amongst many, but he is also far from a sinner, judging for the overwhelming and predominantly negative reaction of Lombardi’s hiring by Browns CEO Joe Banner, one would think he is the spawn of Satan himself.
His recent comments about the drafting of quarterback Brandon Weeden and Josh Gordon while at NFL Network will eventually be called into action, he made those comments while he was an employee of NFL Network, not the Browns, thus, he was merely expressing his opinion at that moment in time.
Eventually, he will have to answer for those comments, and when he does, both he and the fans will both move on and look forward to an exciting 2012-13 season.
Lombardi may be far from perfect, but for the sake of a successful season, Browns fans should be willing to play devil’s advocate and give him a fair chance to either succeed or fail on his own accord, before jumping to conclusions.
Robert D. Cobb is the Founder/CEO/Senior Editor-In-Chief Of The Inscriber : Digital Magazine, for questions, comments and concerns email me at [email protected]and follow the Inscriber : Digital Magazine on Twitter at @TheInscriber