As the Browns make plans to lay the foundation for the first Vince Lombardi Trophy in franchise history, another guy named Lombardi who worked for the Browns franchise that used to be in Cleveland could be returning. Or not.
Jason La Canfora of CBS recently floated Mike Lombardi’s name as a possible candidate to return to Cleveland, as a member of the front office under new CEO Joe Banner. Stronger than the link to Cleveland is the fact that Lombardi once worked for Banner in Philadelphia, before the hiring of Andy Reid and coach and, essentially, the chief of the football operations.
Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com has a somewhat (sarcasm) different assessment of the situation, capping an article on the possible switch from G.M. Tom Heckert to Lombardi like this: “If Banner now is seriously considering Lombardi as a replacement for Heckert, who is eminently more qualified and can draft rings around Lombardi, then the Browns’ fortunes are not as promising as I once thought.”
Lombardi is a somewhat (no sarcasm) polarizing figure in league circles. Regarded as close to his former boss in Cleveland, Bill Belichick, the current NFL Network employee gets access and scoop from Belichick but, to date, not a job. (That said, Lombardi’s son has been hired by Belichick.) In contrast, the late Al Davis publicly lambasted Lombardi during an anti-Lane Kiffin press conference. (Then again, the list of folks Davis publicly lambasted is not a short one.)
Like any other NFL hire, player or otherwise, it only takes one team to make the move. Banner told PFT Live earlier this month that the Browns hope to put the right mix of people together moving forward. Whether Lombardi is in the mix to be part of that mix remains to be seen.