I mentioned a while ago that I was going to write a series breaking down the backgrounds of the Browns new Regime. Well, the day has come. I’m going to start at the top and work my way down, and try and cover the entire Front Office and Coaching Staff. Hopefully this will give Browns fans a better perspective on the people who now control our beloved, hapless Brownies.
Jimmy Haslam – Owner
On August 2nd, 2012, Jimmy Haslam bought the Browns from former owner Randy Lerner for $1 billion dollars. Haslam was officially approved as owner by the NFL on October 16th. Haslam was previously a minority shareholder in the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as owner of a Chicago Clubs AA baseball club in Tennessee. Haslam is also the Chairman of the Pilot Flying J truck stop company, a business he took over from his father.
Although he has minimal experience in the NFL, Haslam has the right connections and the right attitude from what I’ve seen so far. He’s brought in the right guy to replace Holmgren (Joe Banner), and has generally been extremely involved in pushing the franchise to some sort of relevance. It’s early still, but I like what I see.
Joe Banner – CEO
Joe Banner was hired by his friend Jeffrey Lurie in 1994 when Lurie purchased the Philedelphia Eagles. Banner was steadily promoted until he became President of the Eagle organization. In June 2012, he changed positions and became strategic adviser to Lurie. The day after officially taking over as Owner, Jimmy Haslam hired him as President/CEO of the Cleveland Browns.
Banner has more than proved his abilities as a top tier executive. He has a wealth of contacts around the NFL, including fellow administrators, coaches and player agents. His skill in guiding a successful organization, hiring the right people to run it, and finding/hiring talent are all things I don’t think anyone can doubt. Haslam found the right guy to replace Mike Holmgren in my opinion.
Michael Lombardi – VP of Player Personnel
Michael Lombardi has a long, long career in Football. He started work as a scout in 1981, and has held virtually every personnel position. Personnel Director for the Browns from 1987-1996, Director of Pro Personnel for the Eagles in 1998, and Senior Personnel Executive for the Raiders from 1998-2007.
Lombardi is the guy most Browns fans dislike the most from this management group. He’s had some well publicized missteps in personnel in Cleveland and especially Oakland. I won’t try and excuse the guys mistakes, but I will take a step back and point out some things that I do like. I agree with him about drafting Weeden in the first round last year, it was a panicked mistake and disaster. What a waste of a pick in such a stellar draft class. He has a ton of connections, knows the scouting game better than most, and will be checked by Haslam/Banner/Chud in regards to final personnel decisions. The problems Lombardi has encountered came from high risk, high reward acquisitions, the kind Banner is unlikely to sign off on. I think he’s going to do fine with other people able to veto his gambles.