Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi Out In Cleveland
By Steven King
Cleveland Browns CEO Joe Banner and GM Mike Lombardi are out, having been forced out by owner Jimmy Haslam on Tuesday morning as he grew tired over the total dysfunctionality of his front office.
A press release from the Browns states that Banner will be stepping down in the next two months as he transitions out of his role as CEO. It also states simply that Lombardi is “departing the organization.”
Assistant GM Ray Farmer has been promoted to general manager, and will take over the team’s football operations. President Alec Scheiner, a highly-respected executive who was wooed away from the Dallas Cowboys, will continue to be in charge of the organization’s business operations. In essence, he will be replacing Banner.
“First of all, we wanted to capitalize on the knowledge, experience and character we’re fortunate to have in Ray Farmer,” Haslam said in a statement. “Ray has a tremendous football IQ, he’s compelling, and he understands the types of players we need to acquire and develop in order to win in Cleveland. He embraces his partnership with head coach Mike Pettine, which is critical in helping build the right team. Ray will provide excellent leadership in our front office.
“We appreciate Joe’s contributions to the Cleveland Browns, especially in helping us as new owners. He was committed to creating a successful organization and bringing in talented individuals. We thank him for his work and dedication. We wish him and his family the best.
“Alec will continue in his role as president of this team. I think he’s one of the most intelligent and innovative young executives in the NFL.”
Haslam continued, “We’re also grateful for Mike Lombardi’s efforts and commitment since rejoining our organization. He is an experienced and creative NFL executive with a unique ability to see the big picture. He has tremendous instincts and I know he’ll be a valuable addition to any NFL organization. We simply wanted to give Ray this opportunity that he’s earned. We wanted to move forward under his leadership and capabilities.
“The purpose of these moves is to unify our team with one, unequivocal goal: Provide our fans with the winning organization they have long deserved.”
Banner said in a statement, "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.”