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Cleveland Browns: Banner and Lombardi Relieved of their Duties

Berea, OH – The saga continues for the Cleveland Browns and owner Jimmy Haslam. After just one frustrating season, Haslam has decided to part ways with his handpicked Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi hires. Could something even bigger be in the works here?

Roughly a week after telling the Miami Dolphins “thanks, but no thanks” to become their next general manager, assistant general manager Ray Farmer has been promoted to fill Lombardi’s vacancy. This also comes after Farmer told the media the Browns were “in a position to redefine the history books” just a week ago.

Regarding Farmer’s promotion, the plate-filled Haslam had this to say in a statement today, “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.”

Translation: Banner and Lombardi did NOT embrace Coach Pettine and had zero leadership skills.

From Banner, these nonsense and sugar-coated comments should be his last, saying “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.”

Bye-bye Banner, good luck to you. Nice never seeing you Michael.

Now I will say the timing for this firing is very suspect. Why would he have Banner and Lombardi (questionable) involved in the infamous highly mocked coaching search that ended in Mike Pettine? Pro-Football Talk is reporting that Farmer had nothing to do with hiring Pettine. Does that necessarily mean that he is not on board? Finally, was the firing made out of desperation because Haslam knows that there is a very good chance he will be indicted soon? Ten individuals in the Pilot Flying J company have come forward and cooperated with the FEDs as they build their case. The timing just doesn’t make sense.

Haslam ended with a familiar statement very candidly, “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.”

As previously mentioned, is something much bigger and deeper in the works? How soon before a new owner is on the horizon? Meanwhile, the most important NFL draft in franchise history comes in just 86 short days.

Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook: Ryan (BrownsWriter) Ruiz and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Browns correspondent for The Sportsfix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportsfix.net.  Email Ryan at ryan.ruiz@theinscribermag.com




Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

3 thoughts on “Cleveland Browns: Banner and Lombardi Relieved of their Duties

  1. Jimmy Haslam was, at the time he hand-picked Banner, a rookie owner, more than likely hiring Banner because of his name and the only name of his caliber available. None of anything you stated, nor I, can be substantiated.

    Sometimes, things just “are”, and no further digging is needed. To imply there is a “larger” picture not yet known is presumptuous. As verified by Jimmy and Roger Goodell, should Jimmy serve prison time, his father will act as the interim owner until Jimmy can resume.

    To insinuate that Ray Farmer had “nothing” to do with the hiring of Mike Pettine, I find that to be highly unlikely..as it seems more that he had some role in it. Despite the Rebate scandal, Jimmy is an astute business man, and I highly doubt the termination of Banner and Lombardi was a hasty last minute decision – it just doesn’t work that way in business. Ray Farmer turning away the Miami GM position further indicates Farmer knew “something”, and had to have known about Pettine, because Haslam was involved in the hiring processes. And to think that Haslam left Farmer out of the loop just doesn’t coincide with your presumptuous statements.

    In all honesty, I would rather have read about the facts, and that which we do know instead of what “thinks” is going on. If I wanted that type of read – I could pick up the latest edition of the National Enquirer. Facts and truths catch my attention, not presumptuous statements that only promote conspiracies and casts doubt.

  2. I’ve now read this three times, and quite discontented with this article from such a polished writer…lacks real research, just assumptions that paint a gloomy forecast.

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