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Zak Gilbert resigns as Browns P.R. director

1372255905000-GTY-Cleveland-Bro-1306261012_4_3 Getty Images

Last year, the Raiders abruptly fired P.R. director Zak Gilbert, reportedly because an article written in Sports Illustrated was deemed by owner Mark Davis to be unfairly critical of Davis and his late father, Al.

This year, Gilbert has left the next job he took, resigning as Browns Director of Communications.

“We greatly appreciate Zak’s efforts, work ethic and contributions to the Cleveland Browns organization,” Browns President Alec Scheiner said in a release.  “He has been a true professional, and we wish him and his family the best moving forward.”

Gilbert released a statement of his own, characterizing the move as a true resignation.

“After a lot of thought and discussion, I’ve come to the difficult decision to resign my position as head of the Browns’ communications department,” Gilbert said.  “I want to thank everyone in the organization, most particularly Jimmy and Dee Haslam.  I’d also like to extend my appreciation to Alec Scheiner, Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer, and thank members of the local media for the relationships we enjoyed.  Working for one of the great franchises in pro football, the team with the league’s most loyal fans, was a genuine privilege.  I wish the Browns and all of my teammates inside the building nothing but success.”

In many cases, terminations masquerade as resignations, create natural skepticism as to whether any resignation truly is a resignation.  In this case, the move comes one week after an article appearing on a Sports Illustrated web property inadvertently created the impression that coach Mike Pettine believes the Patriots underhandedly got their hands on a Jets playbook while Pettine was working in New York.  Regardless of whether the failure to properly communicate the anecdote belonged more to the interviewer than to the interviewee, Gilbert presumably recommended, suggested, and/or approved the sit-down that created an unwanted distraction for the franchise.

Chances are that the wheels were in motion for this move well before the Pettine playbook snafu.  And regardless of whether Gilbert wanted out or the Browns wanted him out, the door continues to revolve when it comes to key jobs in the businesses owned and/or run by Jimmy Haslam.

In less than two years as owner of the Browns, two General Managers (Tom Heckert and Mike Lombardi), two coaches (Pat Shurmur and Rob Chudzinski), a CEO (Joe Banner), and now two P.R. directors (Neal Gulkis and Gilbert) have gone.  It’ll be interesting to see whether the trend continues.

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22 Responses to “Zak Gilbert resigns as Browns P.R. director”
  1. 4thquartermagic says: Jun 26, 2014 4:41 PM

    Hmmm would I want to be in charge of P.R. if Johnny Manziel was on my team?

  2. redngold1 says: Jun 26, 2014 4:47 PM

    Throw in their first round draft choice and you have a franchise that continues to get curiouser and curiouser.

  3. clownsfan says: Jun 26, 2014 4:48 PM

    Can’t blame Haslam for Heckert/Schurmur. Everybody knew those 2 were gone when the team was sold. Everybody else is on Haslam’s watch. Promoting Farmer was the smarted move he’s made.

  4. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 26, 2014 4:49 PM

    Zak will take a job doing P.R. for a cannibalistic serial killer, less stressful.

  5. jjb0811 says: Jun 26, 2014 4:50 PM

    So much for the sunny days w/ this new owner! Same old Clowns.

  6. deepseabreeze says: Jun 26, 2014 4:55 PM

    Hey, let’s blame the Raiders for this one too. It was ridiculous how much crap the Raiders got when this guy got let go. What now?

  7. weepingjebus says: Jun 26, 2014 5:05 PM

    Just firing Pettine himself was too straightforward I guess. We can revisit that in week 11.

  8. bassplucker says: Jun 26, 2014 5:06 PM

    Well, between the Raiders and the Browns he had the absolute worst two P.R. gigs in the NFL that anyone could get. Assuming he hasn’t burned all his bridges, he can only go up from here.

  9. tformation says: Jun 26, 2014 5:10 PM

    P.R. for the Raiders and then the Browns? At that point, you just like pain. That’s career masochism right there. Next stop, the Jaguars.

  10. pacodawg says: Jun 26, 2014 6:24 PM

    As a passionate browns fan I ask who? A gut feeling tells me this has no impact on the players performance on the field. Next

  11. hawkforlife says: Jun 26, 2014 6:27 PM

    In less than two years as owner of the Browns, two General Managers (Tom Heckert and Mike Lombardi), two coaches (Pat Shurmur and Rob Chudzinski), a CEO (Joe Banner), and now two P.R. directors (Neal Gulkis and Gilbert) have gone.

    I wonder how much Haslam is paying all these people to NOT be there? I assume they had contracts.

  12. dtlb58 says: Jun 26, 2014 6:30 PM

    tformation says:
    Jun 26, 2014 5:10 PM
    P.R. for the Raiders and then the Browns? At that point, you just like pain. That’s career masochism right there. Next stop, the Jaguars.

    Jacksonville is on the right track. I felt this before the draft and believe it more since. As long as the owner lets the G.M. And H.C. do their jobs and stays out of it. Jags fans hope he don’t wake up one morning and wanna be J.J.

    That division is going to get real competitive again.

  13. huskywolverine says: Jun 26, 2014 6:42 PM

    Well that was fast. Manziel is already causing team officials to lose their jobs…

  14. nomoreseasontix says: Jun 26, 2014 9:37 PM

    I’m thinking I’ll pass on Gilbert when I need a new PR director…
    He’ll get me too much drama.

  15. rcali says: Jun 26, 2014 9:51 PM

    “Working for one of the great franchises in pro football” ??????????

  16. laxer37 says: Jun 26, 2014 10:21 PM

    Next to screwing truckers out of their gasoline rebates, there is apparently nothing Jimmy Haslem loves more than firing people.

  17. oldcracker says: Jun 26, 2014 10:36 PM

    Tony Grossi! At least he’s not just a talking head for the Browns.

    Jay Carney is looking for work, too.

  18. stampnhawk says: Jun 26, 2014 11:57 PM

    Wonder if Haslam kept this guy’s rebate too?

  19. jake0831 says: Jun 27, 2014 7:07 AM

    Hey, Zak. I hear Jerry Jones is a real peach to work for.

  20. nonetruerthanblue says: Jun 27, 2014 7:36 AM

    C’mon man…going out for the sane issue again?? When it comes to SI…just say no

  21. colv says: Jun 27, 2014 7:56 AM

    In his resignation he lost me at GREAT FRANCHISES. It is true they, Cleveland, have great fans and hang in their through decades of futility. Seems odd he resigns so soon knowing this owners ability to clean house.

  22. bassplucker says: Jun 28, 2014 9:50 AM

    The only Cleveland franchise that deserves the “great” moniker moved to Baltimore awhile back. The farce of an outfit that has been located in Cleveland since then are the Browns in name only.

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