Today Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam announced that President Joe Banner and General Manager Mike Lombardi are leaving the team. The decision to sweep the front office clean, Haslam said, will allow the organization to become more “streamlined.” Ray Farmer will become the team’s new general manager.
Just when you think the Browns can’t become more of an object of ridicule, something like this happens. Of course, the Browns’ front office, with Banner and Lombardi apparently involved, hired a new head coach just a few weeks ago. If you were going to axe your front office, why wouldn’t you do so before you hired a new head coach and let Farmer take the lead role in deciding who he wants in that crucial position?
I’m not defending Banner and Lombardi. I saw nothing from them that suggested the capability to lead the Browns back to respectability — much less contention for that elusive spot in a Super Bowl. In fact, I saw nothing from them that suggested basic competence. I can’t imagine that Farmer could possibly be any more inept than Banner and Lombardi were, and the fact that two failures have been pitched from the front office can’t hurt. But this latest housecleaning just reaffirms the prevailing view that the Browns are the worst managed, most bumbling franchise in the NFL — which is not exactly the reputation you want when you are looking to recruit free agents, encourage fans to shell our their hard-earned dollars for season tickets, and retain the handful of truly talented players that are currently on the Browns roster.
I’ll always be a Browns fan; it’s my cross to bear, one that also is borne by Browns Backers around the globe. I’m not expecting a winner. I just wish this once-proud, well-run team would stop being a laughingstock.