Report: Issue of control could determine Heckert’s fate


With rumors swirling that new Browns CEO Joe Banner plans to fire G.M. Tom Heckert and replace him with Mike Lombardi, a new report suggests that Heckert’s future hinges on one thing.


According to Patrick McManamon of, Heckert could be out if he balks at the prospect of sacrificing a portion of his control over personnel to Banner.

McManamon couches the report as Heckert wanting out if Banner wants to be involved in personnel decisions, a surprising twist coming at a time when it’s believed that Heckert is twisting in the wind.

Technically, Heckert could force his ouster if he balks at what would be a violation of the terms of his contract.  But the literal terms of a General Manager’s contract often mean nothing, in practice.  Former Browns G.M. George Kokinis technically had control over personnel, but it was widely believed that former Browns coach Eric Mangini actually ran the show.  And when Mike Holmgren became the surrogate owner and hired Heckert, it was widely believed that the former head coach known as the Big Show actually ran the show.

As a result, it appears that Heckert could be pushing back against the rumors that he could be pushed out, seizing the upper hand and making it known that, if Banner is going to try to tell him what to do and how to do it, he’ll want out.

Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

22 responses to “Report: Issue of control could determine Heckert’s fate

  1. So if the Big Show ran the show, then why is Heckert getting credit for drafting?

    Anyway, I think the constant changing of the front office and impatience of the fans and owner(s) have
    made the Browns unsuccessful and prevented any type of winning culture from developing.

    It takes time, it really does. The Cardinals looked like they had it last year with Newton but this year they certainly don;t because the base wasn’t there.

    The Browns have a solid base now but the constant changing is disruptive.

  2. Seems like Heckert is putting together some nice talent in Cleveland. Leave him alone and let him do his job. Browns need some continuity, not another change and philosophy.

  3. Heckert has been very good. Can someone be better? You bet. Is that somebody Mike Lombardi? No way! Cleveland fans will riot if he is named. He bad mouthed the supplimental pick of Josh Gordan (our best receiver) And, he bad mouthed last years draft which has turned out 6 or 7 pretty decent rookie starters. Stay at NFL Lombardi.

  4. I don’t like this Banner guy…and if he actually dumps Heckert for frigging Mike Lombardi (are you kidding me!?!), I might be done.

  5. From the interviews I’ve heard here with Joe Banner, he seems like a wise man. If Heckert is worth his salt as a GM, he would do well to collaborate with Banner.

    Hope Banner is on the hunt for some fresh coaching blood as well. The Browns seems to be a talented young group that doesn’t deserve to play in the Factory of Sadness.

  6. Joe Banner
    Tom Heckert
    Mike Lombardi

    Shall I continue?

    George Kokinis
    Eric Mangini

    very impressive….these winners are what winning is all about

  7. First, Holmgren didn’t run the draft. He strongly contributed in the decision making process, but Heckert made the drafting calls, except Colt McCoy. That is the only draft pick during the Heckert tenure that was jammed down his throat by Holmgren.

    I’m convinced that Heckert is a phenomenal evaluator of talent, and he is building a *young* and talented roster that is sorely in need of good coaching.

    Jimmy, Joe, do the right thing and keep Heckert and get a great coach!

  8. Holmgren is being replaced by Banner as president. Holmgren and Heckert worked well together along with Shurmur and previously Mangini. Nobody has ever said a word about Heckert being on a control trip in any fashion. In fact, nothing but good things have come out about his willingness to work with the pres and coach. If there’s a problem with control and Heckert gets pushed out, it’s obviously all about Banner.

  9. If Haslam allows Heckert to leave because Banner wants more control he isn’t the business man I thought he was. This teams talent has gone up two fold since last year and Heckert is the reason.

  10. I can’t help but think Heckert would be getting an immediate call from Philadelphia if he got fired. Despite Roseman’s contract extension, it’s hard to believe he’s safe in a full regime change – not to mention drafts under his tenure have been as bad as they get.

  11. Have been a Browns fan since the 70s.
    i made it through the drive, the fumble, the move, 13 years of misery since the reincarnation.

    If they hire Lombardi, I am burning all my stuff this Christmas and buying either Ravens or Steelers gear. In Cleveland, no matter how bad things are, don’t ever think they can’t get worse.

  12. Dear Jimmy Haslam—

    You now have your first PR challenge lets see how you handle it.

    The fans in Cleveland are speaking with knowledge—they like Heckert. Its your team and your $1B–but dont make changes for change sake. And dont sne dMike Lombardi back to Cleveland.

  13. A new owner is no reason for optimism. They have to be replacing a cheap owner or a generous owner who is overly controlling… The only thing you know for sure about a new owner is that he has no experience in the role.

  14. Replace the whole awful team. The browns are a joke.Good fans but always a poor team. The broncos killed your dreams years ago and since then, nothing!

  15. None of us Browns fans want Heckert to go. None. Banner better show us how smart he keeps telling us he is and keep this talented young GM around for a long time. Lombardi? Please we don’t want him. Heckert must stay.

  16. Heckert stays, I stay. Heckert goes, I go. That simple. He is the first GM since Accorsi to have a clue. Has he been perfect? No. Has be been bold, patient and smart. Yes.

    As for Lombardi, stick to television big guy. You are good at that, and that is a good thing. You are not good as a GM. Trying to claim you were young and made mistakes is just not going to work with a fan base like us. We have no patience for such remarks. You hated the Josh Gordon pick, and now this kid looks like he would have been a Top 10 Pick. We got him for a second rounder. That’s called value. Tom gets this…you don’t.

    Tom, please stay. You know Banner and can work with him.

  17. Browns need to keep Heckert, Dick Jaron, and maybe even keep Chilly, but get a new head coach. I really think they would be off to the races then.

  18. Seldom have I read as many quality comments on a subject as these, so far. Almost all have a good handle on the Browns’ recent developments regarding players, especially. So, here goes: If the new tandem is as good as advertised, Heckert will stay and Shurmur not. So far, I’m very impressed, since they canned the Great Whiner before the end of the season.

  19. LEAVE HECKERT THERE, Lombardi doesn’t have a clue, his track record proves it, Heck is making some good moves, you really don’t want Lombardi anywhere near the Browns, hes like poison, any thing he touches turns to siht, Lombardi will set the Browns back 4 years, he sucks, sucks, sucks, did I mention Lombardi sucks. The Cleveland Browns, my team, rebuilding since 1964.

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