Stop me if you've heard this before: the Cleveland Browns are a mess.
The latest venture to take place in Cleveland is a big shakeup in the team's front office. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has fired general manager Michael Lombardi, replaced him with Ray Farmer, and announced team CEO Joe Banner will be "stepping down." Banner, who is no stranger to Eagles fans, used to be a key member of the Eagles front office as the team's president. Banner, a life long friend of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, left the Eagles in 2012 after he had effectively lost power due to a shakeup in the Eagles front office structure. Shortly after leaving the Eagles, Banner became part of a team that purchased the Cleveland Browns. Banner was named the top executive in the Browns organization.
Interestingly enough, the Eagles are tied into this situation. Last year, it was apparent the Browns had a high level of hiring Chip Kelly away from the Oregon Ducks. Kelly interviewed with Cleveland, and then Philadelphia, before ultimately deciding to go back to Oregon. With their top candidate off the board, the Browns ended up hiring Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. Kelly, as we know, would decide not to return to Oregon after all and ended up taking the Eagles' head coaching job. Chud went 4-12 in his rookie season as the Browns' head coach and was immediately fired as soon as the season ended. The Browns then underwent a lengthy head coaching search where they couldn't seem to land any of their top targets. Mike Pettine, the Bills' defensive coordinator, finally ended up taking the job in late January.
The Browns' failure to hire Kelly in 2013 was the start of this mess.
Not an exaggeration: When Banner/Lombardi failed to nab Chip, it was the beginning of the end. Rushed, settled on Chud and lost PR battle.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) February 11, 2014
And now as a result, Banner and Lombardi are paying the price of it.
Mult sources tell me Michael Lombardi and Joe Banner are "devastated" and "were blindsided" by the announcement #Browns— Will Burge (@WillBurge) February 11, 2014
Banner released a statement regarding his dismissal.
"It is bittersweet leaving the Browns organization. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Jimmy Haslam and helping him set the infrastructure for this franchise. I am proud of the talented individuals we brought in to help lead this team and feel that the Cleveland Browns are in good hands moving forward."
Something tells me Eagles fans won't be quick to sympathize with Banner. He wasn't exactly... the most well-liked man in the Eagles front office.
Update (1:38 p.m. ET): Former Eagles linebacker Ray Farmer will take over as general manager for Browns.
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