Lombardi, Banner Out in Browns Shuffle

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CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said the organization's former general manager and outgoing CEO left the team in a good position for free agency.

Former General Manager Michael Lombardi is "departing the organization" and Joe Banner will step down from his role as CEO in the next two months.

The team announced Tuesday that Ray Farmer was promoted to GM.

Haslam said he and Banner began discussing a front office restructuring a few weeks ago and felt it was an appropriate time to implement the changes now that a new coach is in place.

The Browns hired Head Coach Mike Pettine in late January.

“I think Joe felt comfortable that he set us up for success and now it’s time to move forward,” Haslam said, calling the new setup more streamlined and clear.

The CEO position was eliminated entirely.

“When we interviewed (Farmer) we knew he would be a GM someday,” Haslam said, calling him smart, organized and an easy guy to deal with.

He also said this will be the last of the major changes to be made, although the organization may continue to "tinker" with some things.

Farmer will lead the team during free agency and the draft and immediately take over football operations.

“I think (Pettine and I) are going to work well together.  I think we have the same thing in mind which is making the Cleveland Browns a winner," Farmer said at the news conference Tuesday.  “At the end of the day we need to find a way to win football games.”

President Alec Scheiner will continue to be in charge of the organization’s business operations.

Scroll down for more updates from the news conference.

Prior to his remarks Haslam also released this statement:

“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.”

Banner released this statement:

"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.”

Farmer said he was given a four-year contract.  He denied his new role with Browns impacted his rejection of the Dolphins' GM offer.


  • david caldro

    I cant figure if this is good or bad. Haslam must not be the easiest to work for. Maybe he’s a poorman’s Jerry Jones, or maybe Jim Jones.

  • C. C.

    The front office for this team has been a mess since they came back into the league. The Browns have a bigger problem then the players they have on the team, but today was a move in the right direction

    • Audrey Morris

      Come On!!! Lets be positive.. No one buys a team unless they want a winning team. I don’t believe ANYONE spends money to throw it away. They want to win as bad as we want them to win…. Lets stay positive and see it all unfold. Go Browns!!! Audrey Morris

      • MrGregOtis

        You are right. I start off every season being positive. Everyone wants a Super Bowl. I just want the team to win two games more than the previous season. Next season, all I want is six wins minimum. The next season after that, eight minimum. Then ten. Etc, etc. Eventually the Browns will be permanent contenders again. I am a life-long Browns fan and watching the (new) Browns has been discouraging. (I am 62 and watched Jim Brown tear up the League. There will never be another like him on the Browns, but I have hope!)

  • MrGregOtis

    “We need to find a way to win football games,” Famer says, calling that the charge.

    Wake me up when the season is over.

  • R Boyd

    So glad for Ray Farmer, very deserving to be GM. So thankful he didn’t end up with another organization. Good luck Ray. Good ridden cw to Banner, we don’t need a title (CEO) man muddying the organization with his neptatism and misguided power. Hopefully we’re on the right path for success

  • jason

    i am a steelers fan we dont what a Browns to win games you tall us Evey time you guys will win you guys get a new cosh why we trus you you tell this will win a lot

  • george valachi

    I’ll believe this will not go anywhere in the coming season. And don’t you fools vote yes on the sin tax. Let the downtown businesses and ticket buying fans support this losing team.

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