Source: Haslam wanted to give the reins to Farmer


On Tuesday morning, teams were going about their ordinary offseason business, engaging in meetings regarding the draft and free agency.

And then came the news that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam had fired CEO Joe Banner and G.M. Mike Lombardi.  In at least one NFL city, the shock brought the meetings to a halt.

It’s largely unprecedented for any NFL team to engage in so much turnover in such a short time, and the abrupt nature of the decision to dump Banner and Lombardi is sparking all sorts of speculation about what happened.

Per a league source, here’s what happened.  Owner Jimmy Haslam decided that Lombardi had to go.  Haslam also decided that assistant G.M. Ray Farmer deserved to have full control over the football operation, unfettered by Banner’s authority over the football side of the organization.

So with Alec Scheiner running the business side of the organization and Farmer now in charge of the football operation, there was no need for Banner to stay.

The signs of a short-fused Haslam emerged a year ago, when Haslam decided to return to his “first love” at Pilot Flying J and bounced the man Haslam had hired from PepsiCo to run the company while Haslam was focusing completely on the Browns.  It was Haslam, we’re told, who decided to fire coach Rob Chudzinski after one year.  And now Haslam has fired Lombardi and Banner.

So, over the last 18 months, Haslam has made four key hires in his two primary businesses.  And he has fired all four of them.  Does that say more about the men who were hired, or about the man who hired them?

47 responses to “Source: Haslam wanted to give the reins to Farmer

  1. today, all of the football world, takes the time to collectively laugh at the city of cleveland

    oh wait. . . thats every day

  2. Its obviously an indictment on the owner. And that’s why I always say, thank God im a Giants fan….say what you want about them, but they are loyal and they are stable. When it comes to running a football organization, guys like Haslem (and that clown in Dallas) should really look to teams like the Giants and Steelers to see how its done.

    Then again, football is the life of the Mara’s and Rooney’s….its much more of a play thing for some of these other owners.

  3. Apparently the super rich have a new game: Buy sports franchise; out crazy Jerry Jones.

    What a joke of a franchise. Horrendous. The Browns actually looked pretty good at times this year. They are on the clock for the 2015 draft and the 2014 draft hasn’t even happened.

  4. I respect that Haslam owns the team and has the right to hire/fire whomever he chooses. By my goodness there are consequences to how he is going about it. There is no way any established front office exec and/or coach will ever work for this guy. Everyone in the Browns organization better keep their resumes up to date.

  5. I like the guy actually. At least he’s not drunk tweeting after making bad decisions (Colts), Pretending he knows more about football than football people (Raiders, Bengals, Cowboys) or just brain dead (the last Browns owner)

  6. you ask why did haslam fire banner and lombardi ? i think the simple and obvious answer is because they were incompetent. also banner is very dislikable. he just rubs people the wrong way. no way that guy should be involved in running an nfl team. he is more of a backroom accounting kind of guy. he is better suited for an auditing firm.

    i am a 20 + yr eagles season ticket holder, and while i have to objectively say banner is smart, his personality and mannerisms bugged the crap out of most of us in philly.

  7. See Miami fans……This guy is much worse than Ross. At least Ross has the resolve and loyalty to stick with his people and give them a chance to succeed. Haslam is not used to losing in the business world and he is treating the Browns like Flying J. How is that working for ya Jimmy?

  8. Jimmy might see that his division is weaker than its ever been and it presents an opportunity for the Browns to leapfrog a few spots. He wants to strike now. He didn’t think much of the guys he had, so he with some guys that were of the same mind that he is… this is your result. He might be right.

  9. You take a little Al Davis, sprinkle in some Jerry Jones, and just a pinch of Daniel Snyder, add a federal indictment, and voila, you have a Cleveland Browns owner.

  10. But Haslam and Jerry Jones both are very articulate! Guess that’s what the old saying of “talk’s cheap” means…..Loony Tunes…..LOL

  11. Major League Baseball took away the operations of the Dodgers from Frank McCourt for the “best interests of the game”. Perhaps it’s time the NFL did the same against owners like Jerrah Jones, Haslam, and Dan Snyder.

  12. Listen, you can say it looks bad all you want, it does on the surface of it. But I’ve read many Browns fans on these boards complaining about Banner & Lombardi. If this is the right move then there is no better time than the present to make it. Of course, if it turns out that these guys don’t know what they’re doing then they’ll have a hard time finding new guys who do.

  13. I actually have more respect for him after this move. I was not happy with either Lombardi or Banner and I think he saw the writing on the wall that coaches did not want to come here and work with those two. I am glad he was smart enough to promote Farmer and I hope he does a good job. There is great risk with this next draft and we can’t afford to screw this up!

  14. It was Haslem’s fault in the first place for hiring 2 goofs like Banner and Lombardi. The person who really got shafted in all of this was Chudzinski. He was only given a year after he inherited a team with a no talent qb and zero running game.

  15. It just hit me…. Haslam is playing the super rich, white guy version of the Knockout Game…

    Seriously though, you gotta feel bad for Browns Fan. Everyone can see the team is a mess from the top down and there’s very little hope things will get better with someone like Haslam steering the boat.

  16. I am glad he made the move, and I think it shows some gutsy overdue leadership. I hate to state the obvious, but this was no sudden knee jerk reaction. When Farmer turned down the GM job, I am sure it was because he knew he was coming back to the Browns with a promotion. Haslam couldn’t fire Banner and Lombardi before firing Chud. I think this was his plan all along, and I welcome the change. Gives me the most hope for the Browns that I have had in a long time.

  17. Cleveland is cursed until they get their collective heads out of the arse and support Art Modell into the Hall of Fame. You have a team and you only lost what 3 or 4 more losing seasons while the new stadium was built. Time to move on and have some hope

  18. The only good is Ray Farmer getting his shot. He should’ve gotten this shot last year. Also the only reason the Browns aren’t a 100% laughing stock.

    As for Jimmy Haslam, this is your last shot at not being a terrible football owner. Don’t blow it

  19. Maybe fans should get to vote when an owner gets to go.

    They then wouldn’t have to sit through years of tools like Haslam, or the deterioration of a once great guy like Al Davis, or the mediocrity of Jerry Jones.

  20. Hang in there Browns’ fans. As a Hawks’ fan I have felt your pain. We had a real “winner” for an owner from 88 -97 named Ken Behring. Hopefully things will turn around soon.

  21. We’ll see what happens. You can make a strong case that Haslam made a big mistake in hiring the arrogant, in your face, fans and players be damned, Banner. And Banner, in turn, hired Dumbturdi who, in Cleveland, is comsiderably less respected than the Taliban.
    And today, after a miserable 2013 draft, two jokes of a coaches search, throwing a decent coach under the bus, and facing public humiliation and outcry, righted his major wrongs by flushing two turds down the toilet. As John Madden would say, ‘ a twofer’!

  22. Don’t compare this guy to Snyder yet. Snyder fired only 2 coaches and 1 GM that he did not inherit.

    Norv Turner (inherited after 7 yrs on the job. fired – good move)
    Schottenheimer (fired – Snyder later admits this mistake)
    Spurrier (resigned)
    Gibbs (resigned)
    Zorn (fired – hiring mistake)
    Shanahan (fired – he fired himself)
    Cerrato (fired GM – good move)

  23. Great day for Browns fans everywhere. Those 2 guys where mistake hires and I am just glad we didn’t drag that out for years. Farmer will be the next Ozzie.

    Let the haters hate.


  24. Banner was pushed on Haslam by the nfl. So one could say Jimmy never wanted him to begin with. There was no order to that front office, Lombardi was never heard from and Banner wanted to run football player decisions and that’s not his forte. The browns at least now have structure with a football guy in farmer calling the football moves and scheiner on the business side.

  25. Who vets these guys before the NFL allows them to buy a team? This is as much an indictment of Goodell and the NFL machine. An unneeded embarrassment for the league. With the profit that these teams make, I am sure there are plenty of stable wealthy businessmen in the bidding pool. Who will they pick for the London franchise? A reincarnated Bloody Mary or King Charles I?

  26. Cleveland Fans deserve much, much better.

    It is arguable that of any one Franchise the most innovations of Modern Pro-Football came out of Cleveland through the great Paul Brown. The father of Modern Football, and as good a coach as Vince Lombardi and George Halas in his own right.

    And now there is this. I am a METS fan, so I understand futility and frustration, and bad ownership, but this is far worse.

    If you are a Browns fan, you have to hope that Haslam ultimately ends up in Prison and is forced to sell the team, because this man is clueless about Pro Football. You would think he would have learned something from the Rooneys, but it would not seem so.

    I don’t disagree with walking Mike Lombardi to the door, but why hire him in the first place?

    The Factory of Sadness keeps churning away.

  27. Besides the backward move of allowing Banner and Lombardi to hire a coach without input of Farmer, who’s now in charge, Haslem actually has done well to recognize the problems those two were and send them packing. People act like an owner should just sit in the corner and write checks, but they’re fans just like the rest of us. If we can see how bad those two were, I certainly would hope the guy having to pay their salaries could see also.

    The Rooneys certainly make most of the decisions for their head coaches and pull rank on their front office from time to time, and Steve Bisciotti just put the best coach in Ravens history on notice a week ago after pulling rank on him to hire his new offensive coordinator.

    It’s a good thing if your owner is a bit involved and isn’t asleep at the wheel, going to London in the middle of GM searches or calling GM candidates repeatedly by the wrong name during interviews. Just ask Dolphin fans.

  28. If I remember correctly, when Haslam bought the team, Roger Goodell was the one who pushed him to hire Banner as the guy to run the team operations, then Banner hired Lombardi. I’m sure Haslam signed off on both hires, obviously it didn’t take long for Jimmy to figure out he was steered in the wrong direction by Goodell. Also the 3 stooges thing had to be getting under his skin. Very happy to not have to see that constipated looking number cruncher nerd Banner at all the press conferences moving forward. Finally a “football”guy in Farmer to all the shots. Should be an interesting upcoming season. Go Browns

  29. Makes sense why farmer backed out of the Miami hmm search. Haslam must have saw something he liked in farmer and decided he would allow him to run things if he stayed.

  30. Apparently, Haslem made the call to fire Chudzinsky and hire Pettine, so this makes even more sense and the criticism of him (in this case at least) is even less warranted. I don’t see anything bad about what he’s done since he got rid of the people who hired the first coach (as unfair as it seemed at the time, he has that right) and since he made all the decisions in replacing all of them.

  31. The NFL talked Haslam into hiring Banner. Banner talked Haslam into hiring Lombardi. Banner talked Haslam into firing Chud. Jimmy finally woke up and fired them all.

    We have new life in Cleveland now which is better than having no life last week. It couldn’t get any worse. At least now we can see how good the new guys will do as opposed to waiting to see how bad the old guys screw it up.

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