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 firstname.lastname@example.org