Skip to content

Banner mum, media isn’t on lingering Lombardi-to-Cleveland rumors

Jimmy Haslam, Tom Heckert AP

With new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner still expected to clean out the front office and the coaching staff, rumors persist that Banner could choose to replace G.M. Tom Heckert with former NFL executive Mike Lombardi.

According to Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, Banner has declined to comment on the situation in response to mounting rumors that Lombardi is the target.  Though that approach should in some situations be regarded as a non-denial denial, Banner isn’t talking about anything at this point when it comes to the coaching staff or the front office.

Still, if he’s thinking about dumping Heckert and hiring Lombardi, who currently works for NFL Network, there will be resistance in the local media.  Grossi previously argued that Heckert is a better option than Lombardi, and a pair of Plain Dealer columnists — Bud Shaw and Terry Pluto — agree with their former colleague.

On Tuesday, Grossi came out strong against a Heckert-for-Lombardi swap:  “[I]t would be a regrettable decision that would kill the credibility of Haslam and Banner as a formidable management team in the NFL. It would sap the positive energy of the ownership change.  It would remind us in Cleveland that as bad as it’s been, it could always get worse.  What the heck are they thinking?

The reality is that new ownership typically wants their own people to run the show.  But the fact that the Browns have been competitive in every game this year and have won two in a row (including a rare victory against the Steelers) and have a promising young nucleus of players makes us wonder whether the locals will make enough of a push for consistency and continuity to keep Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur in place.

Though the choice between Heckert/Shurmur and the unknown may result in a preference for Door No. 2, the Cleveland media seems to be lining up against the idea that Heckert should be replaced, if replacing Heckert means hiring Lombardi.

Permalink 42 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Cleveland Browns, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
42 Responses to “Banner mum, media isn’t on lingering Lombardi-to-Cleveland rumors”
  1. kane337 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:30 PM

    Not too big of a fan of Michael Lombardi. I think it would be a big mistake to hire him after you’re starting to see good things from the Browns.

  2. Beezo-Doo-doo-Zippity-Bop-bop-bop says: Dec 5, 2012 1:31 PM

    You could have picked a better headline, The term “Lombardi-to-Cleveland” just sounds alien or something.

  3. archetypeobscure says: Dec 5, 2012 1:32 PM

    Not just the media. The focus of the fans is not on the two straight wins, it’s on this insane Lombari rumor. Every fan in Cleveland is not an expert, but they sure are historians on dumb moves. This has people generally outraged.

  4. sterilizecromartie says: Dec 5, 2012 1:37 PM

    I will say that I am not a fan of some of the moves made by the current Browns regime. They were fools to pass on Julio Jones and they should have made a stronger push to trade for RGIII. To think that the Browns could have had an RGIII-to-Julio Jones duo for the next decade is downright scary.

    That being said, they can’t just keep hitting the reset button as a franchise. It seems like every 2-3 years the Browns clean house and start over just when things look like they are turning around. They need to give the current regime at least one more year and see if they continue to progress.

  5. gpry says: Dec 5, 2012 1:38 PM

    Do it…make the change!!

    Signed,

    AFC North

  6. glac1 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:40 PM

    It’s going to be hard to fill those positions. Who would want to move to Cleveland????

  7. bradwins says: Dec 5, 2012 1:43 PM

    I’m not saying that replacing Hackert with Lombardi is or isn’t the right move. I honestly I don’t care about the Browns enough to have an opinion about it. But I do know that caring what the media thinks about anything is the best, fastest way to show that your ownership tenure is going to be a dumpster fire.

  8. tukai9248 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:47 PM

    This is the only way they see a Lombardi in Cleveland.

  9. vcstriker16 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:50 PM

    People forget (because he’s been on TV for awhile) that he has never actually been a GM in the NFL. In fact his highest level position was Senior Personnel Executive with the Raiders when they were HORRIBLE.

    And never trust a man with a toupee.

  10. bigtrav425 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:51 PM

    Heckert needs to stay…Shurmur on the other hand needs to go ASAP

  11. pmars64 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:52 PM

    It’s the height of mediocrity to bring in “your own people” for the sake of bringing in your own people when you’ve got something good going already. Any idiot can see the Browns are more competitive, more talented, and just damn better than they’ve been in some time. They’ve got 2 division wins (and could easily have had 2 more) in one of the toughest divisions in football and the toughest in the AFC. While I’m still not sure about Weeden, the rest of the 2012 draft, including the supplemental, has provided as many as SIX rookies providing quality play. Include a couple of rookie free agents playing well on special teams and you have probably the very best talent evaluation in the league this year.

    Who could Haslam/Banner bring in that would do better? It would be a major blunder to overhaul the front office now just because they want to bring in “their own people.” And to think it’s going to be Mike Lombardi? Are you out of your mind? The guy who said the Browns 2012 draft was an act of desperation and who called the Josh Gordon pick a disaster. The guy who drafted JaMarcus Russell? Are you kidding me?

    Are we already wishing Lerner hadn’t sold the team and Holmgren had stayed?

  12. tedstheman says: Dec 5, 2012 1:52 PM

    Heckert has issues and that is why Philly let him go to Cleveland. Banner is the person who let him go. Don’t think for a second that he has a chance of staying in Cleveland. Most people in the league know what the issues are. Good chance he is done as a high ranking official of any NFL team.

  13. wingslax35 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:53 PM

    As someone who lives in Philly, and is an Eagles fan, I will tell the people of Cleveland one thing. Joe Banner does not, and never will, care what the fans think. Banner is a jerk, and the players have never like him or the way he acts around them. He thinks he is above anyone else. I feel sorry for Cleveland football fans.

  14. hoopieguy says: Dec 5, 2012 1:54 PM

    52 year Browns fan here. I am DONE if they fire Heckert and bring in that idiot Lombardi. Haslam buying the team is all that has kept me on to this point, but if he lets this happen, it will tell me all I need to know………….

  15. thekosarkid says: Dec 5, 2012 1:58 PM

    I hope they understand the huge backlash they will get from the fans if they fire heckert for some over rated/ under football knowledged Lombardi. Just in the large group of browns fans I know we all or pretty much all believe that we’re on the up and up and a couple more solid heckert drafts and the division is ours for years to come. Browns fans are resilient people but we can’t take many more rebuilding phases before heads start to turn other ways. I hope Haslam has a fan mindset also ontop of his great business mindset.

  16. thegreatgabbert says: Dec 5, 2012 2:01 PM

    “Who is Mike Lombardi?”.

  17. greymares says: Dec 5, 2012 2:03 PM

    Lombardi is much more qualified to continue analyzing other peoples screw-ups. As opposed to creating his own.

  18. imjinbrdgr says: Dec 5, 2012 2:08 PM

    I don’t follow Cleveland very close but if the best you can say for present management is that they, lose games close, it sounds like it’s time for an overhaul.

  19. jwheeler767 says: Dec 5, 2012 2:14 PM

    If true, this would sabotage any good will and credibility Jimmy Haslam has worked so hard to earn in his short time as owner.

    Jimmy, please rethink your position. Heckert is very good at his job. Just look at the before and after picture of the roster and salary cap. Lombardi is good at TV, bad as a GM. Every man must know their limitations. Stick to TV, Mike.

  20. bengalsstillsuck says: Dec 5, 2012 2:21 PM

    You got to be kidding me yes i think fire the gm an the coach but dont bring in Lombardi brink in the Polie that the colts fired last year(i know i spelled that guys name wrong)

  21. imjinbrdgr says: Dec 5, 2012 2:24 PM

    Mr. Ford hired a TV guy in Matt Millen. Look how well that worked out.

  22. brownoholic says: Dec 5, 2012 2:43 PM

    I’m not giving up hope but HECKERT MUST STAY!!!!

    Join us on facebook: Keep Tom Heckert in Cleveland

  23. seanpbeck says: Dec 5, 2012 2:47 PM

    Are you kidding me Browns? Mike Lombardi!? If we’re bringing back lame things from the early 90s, where the hell are Color Me Badd, Jesus Jones and my maroon jeans? Haslam needs to know that he’s going to lose a minimum of 20,000 season ticket holders if he does this: the ones old enough to remember what Mike Lombardi did in his first go-round with the Browns. Dude drafted TOMMY VARDELL #9 overall. Memo to the Browns and the NFL: Thomas Dmitroff is the only Belichick disciple capable of running a team. We’ve already brought back Phil Savage, Eric Mangini and George Kokinis. Are we really going to continue the Slappy Reunion Tour? After Lombardi, we’ll still have Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum and Jim Schwartz to go, so it’s gonna be a long decade.

    Lombardi isn’t just a bad personnel man, he’s got the reputation of being an unethical snake. According to the rumors, Ernie Accorsi & Bernie Kosar might be able to shed some light on that.

    The only thing you need to know about him is that Belichick worked with him for 5 years in Cleveland and has never offered him a job in 13 years in New England. Even after Pioli left, he brought in Floyd Reese as a mentor to Nick Caserio.

  24. jerrygogo says: Dec 5, 2012 2:55 PM

    You don’t move to Cleveland, you get traded to Cleveland!

  25. rugbyisbetter says: Dec 5, 2012 2:57 PM

    As an Eagle Fan, who pays attention to other teams relatively close, I can say that it appears that Heckert is doing a good job with the Browns. Its not like he and Shurmur inherited a win-now team.
    I think his draft picks have done well (the only draw back on their starting QB is age). Made pretty good trades. Upgraded the WRs.
    Shurmur is what is questionable. He seems to have the players headed in the right direction, but makes questionable calls during the game. Hes only been with the 2 for less than two years, and his first year as HC was coming off the Lockout without time to put anything into practice.
    I would give the tandem 1 more year… but then again, that was perhaps the Big Shows same mistake when he took over as President…
    Banner is a great at running the team though. Horrible people skills, but thats not what he gets paid for.

  26. thefirstsmilergrogan says: Dec 5, 2012 3:03 PM

    while you can say what you will about lombardi, don’t try to pin drafting jamarcus russell on him. As you may recall, Al Davis had been searching for the next jim plunkett and cliff branch for about 30 yrs by then. He never met a trackstar he didn’t want as a wide, and same with a big strong qb with a gun. So judge the guy on what he actually did, not what Al Davis did…..

  27. myroncopesflask says: Dec 5, 2012 3:17 PM

    So a jock sniffing “insider” is now going to be responsible for the personel decisions of the Cleveland Browns? Yeah I would say that sounds about right…

  28. ImproperRedskin says: Dec 5, 2012 3:20 PM

    I don’t consider myself as any sort of GM expert, but I have to say that I have always admired Lombardi’s public personna. He is always reasonable and well informed, in my estimation. I make it a point to read his written stuff, and feel I have benefited from his knowledge.

  29. blantoncollier says: Dec 5, 2012 3:20 PM

    Firing Heckert would be a major mistake. He has found quality players in the draft and Free Agency. The moves he made are the reason the Browns have a future.

    Shurmur isnt well liked by the media or the fans. But the players are progressing under his leadership. And they seem to have bought into the plan.

    To get rid of them now–is a huge mistake. If Jimmy Haslam really beleives in the Steelers formula then he lets Heckert and Shurmur stay and see what happens over the course of the next two to three years.

    My hunch is Joe Banner’s ego is too big to let them stay. He wants to find the next Andy Reid, because he has convinced the Cleveland media he is soley responsible for finding Andy in Philly.

    Cleveland fans–Banner is going to be the next Carmen Policy, John Collins, george Kokinos, Eric Mangini, Pete Garcia, Phil Savage, Butch Davis, Dwight Clark all rolled into one.

  30. rayguyreturns says: Dec 5, 2012 3:30 PM

    “vcstriker16 says:
    People forget (because he’s been on TV for awhile) that he has never actually been a GM in the NFL. In fact his highest level position was Senior Personnel Executive with the Raiders when they were HORRIBLE.”
    ____________________________________
    If you actually knew anything, you would know that the Raiders have been horrible-AFTER Lombardi left. He was the only sane person in the room when he was there. I guess you forget the AFC titles , playoff games, being “Tucked” and the Superbowl appearance in ’02?

    He would make a good GM

  31. bensstinkyfingers says: Dec 5, 2012 3:33 PM

    Heckert has had solid drafts since he has been here, and he is the main reason the browns are finally starting to turn things around. If he is let go for anyone other than Ozzie Newsome as GM. then it will be a travisty. They are barking up the wrong tree if they are looking to make changes, Shurmer, needs to go he has proven he is not ready for a head coaching job with his game mismanagement and poor decisions. jauron, and Childress have done a nice job, but may be casualties if Shurmer is canned. Haslam has some tough decisions to make and hopefully the decisions are well thought out and not made for the sake of cleaning house and starting over which will set them back yet again.!

  32. ccjcsr says: Dec 5, 2012 4:07 PM

    You have to laugh at teams that choose people who had success in the past. The past is the past..leave it there!

  33. thegreatgabbert says: Dec 5, 2012 4:42 PM

    The Browns are tired of having a short, fat, funny looking guy with a lump of a nose as their G.M. and want to make a change. So, they’re talking to Lombardi.

  34. breakyourballz says: Dec 5, 2012 4:53 PM

    sterilizecromartie says:Dec 5, 2012 1:37 PM

    I will say that I am not a fan of some of the moves made by the current Browns regime. They were fools to pass on Julio Jones and they should have made a stronger push to trade for RGIII. To think that the Browns could have had an RGIII-to-Julio Jones duo for the next decade is downright scary.
    ———————————————————-

    They didn’t “pass” on Julio Jones. They traded down because one elite reciever was NOT going to move the needle as much as the picks they received from Atlanta.

    They got instead a Stud DT (Phil Taylor), a competent NFL starting receiver (Greg Little), and their QB (Brandon Weeden)..

    I would obviously love to have RGIII as well but the timing was screwed up as Heckert just had major heart surgery when the trade was consumated…

  35. coop16 says: Dec 5, 2012 5:09 PM

    I agree with virtually everybody else who has posted above. It would be an enormous mistake to fire Heckert and hire Lombardi. And I think the Haslam/Banner regime has sense enough to realize that. If they don’t, we may soon be looking at the recent 5-11 and 4-12 seasons as the good old days.

  36. dybzinski10 says: Dec 5, 2012 5:33 PM

    sterilizecromartie says:Dec 5, 2012 1:37 PM

    I will say that I am not a fan of some of the moves made by the current Browns regime. They were fools to pass on Julio Jones and they should have made a stronger push to trade for RGIII. To think that the Browns could have had an RGIII-to-Julio Jones duo for the next decade is downright scary.

    _______________

    Including some of the extra picks the Browns got in the Julio Jones deal like the 2012 #1 (Weeden) weren’t enough to as part of the package the Browns offered for RG3, so how would they have landed him if the HAD taken Julio Jones?

  37. brownsclown says: Dec 5, 2012 6:31 PM

    If Banner brings in Lombardi as GM he should also bring in Butch Davis to Coach, Charlie Frye to quarterback and Phil Savag to run the personnel department. Lombardi is a REGIME CHANGE waiting to happen!

    I’m not necessairly opposed to getting rid of Heckert and Shurmur but Lombardi is a real trade down!

  38. brownstain says: Dec 5, 2012 7:04 PM

    Although I’d hate to see Heckert go, I could see replacing him with someone equally competent. That person is not Mike Lombardi – his drafting has always been atrocious. Please, anyone but Lombardi.

  39. raiderlyfe510 says: Dec 5, 2012 7:14 PM

    Mike Lombardi? Our old senior assistant who put together teams that lost like 90 games in 7 years, and tried to talk big Al into hiring Bobby Petrino to be head coach in 2006?

    Good luck with that.

  40. ytownjoe says: Dec 5, 2012 7:15 PM

    I don’t know if hiring Lombardi means the loss of 20,000 season ticket sales. But I do it will mean the loss of 2 season ticket sales. Mine.
    I can’t believe that Haslam is dumb enough to replace the best draft guru the Browns have had since ’99 and replace him with the worst GM that has ever worked in Cleveland.

  41. mrfrostyj says: Dec 6, 2012 7:56 AM

    Was Lombardi ever a GM? I know he worked in hundreds of front offices including Cleveland’s (red flag big time) but I understand the Cleveland media’s mindset on this. It’s definitely an “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” scenario. Tom Heckarts draft picks have almost all panned out very well. Prior to Heckart the Browns had 3 GM’s who couldn’t pick a potential pro bowler if there was only one guy to pick from (and I’m pretty sure George Kokinas tried to make a few trades with the New York Yankees and Chicago Bulls because he was so clueless).

    Browns fans are known for knee/jerk reactions to every little thing but Heckart is the one thing that they agree on. The Browns coaching staff didn’t even know who Josh Gordon was yet he’s a playmaker now. You can’t find that kind of talent evaluating skills everywhere.

  42. sterilizecromartie says: Dec 6, 2012 11:09 AM

    breakyourballz says:
    Dec 5, 2012 4:53 PM
    sterilizecromartie says:Dec 5, 2012 1:37 PM

    I will say that I am not a fan of some of the moves made by the current Browns regime. They were fools to pass on Julio Jones and they should have made a stronger push to trade for RGIII. To think that the Browns could have had an RGIII-to-Julio Jones duo for the next decade is downright scary.
    ———————————————————-

    They didn’t “pass” on Julio Jones. They traded down because one elite reciever was NOT going to move the needle as much as the picks they received from Atlanta.

    They got instead a Stud DT (Phil Taylor), a competent NFL starting receiver (Greg Little), and their QB (Brandon Weeden)..
    ———–
    So if you were starting an NFL franchise you would choose Taylor, Little, and Weeden over Julio Jones? If so, you are nuts.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!