After parting ways with the Browns, former Cleveland general manager Michael Lombardi doesn’t seem likely to rejoin the NFL Network or another media outlet. Instead, it appears Lombardi could reach an agreement with the Patriots to join New England’s front office. Chris Fedor of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland first reported (via Twitter) that Lombardi seemed to be on track to join the Patriots, though he cautioned that nothing was finalized yet. Several other similar reports followed, most recently from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who tweets this morning that Lombardi has had discussions about joining the Pats, though “nothing is firm or official yet.”
While Lombardi talks to the Patriots, Ray Farmer is settling into his role as the Browns’ new GM, and CEO Joe Banner is in the process of transitioning out of the organization. We have a few more details on them and some leftovers from the Browns’ coaching search, so let’s round up the highlights….
- League sources tell Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Banner and Lombardi ended on bad terms with one another in Cleveland, with their discord prompting owner Jimmy Haslam to let go of both execs.
- According to Cabot, Banner wanted to fire Lombardi by the end of the team’s lengthy coaching search. At the same time, Haslam had grown weary of Banner, feeling that some of the Browns’ head coaching targets weren’t willing to accept, or even interview for, the club’s coaching job because of Banner’s position in the front office.
- Ken Whisenhunt and Bill O’Brien were among the candidates who had concerns about the Browns’ management team, according to Cabot.
- In addition to there being internal discord over Greg Schiano‘s candidacy, as we heard yesterday, Haslam and Banner were also at odds over Josh McDaniels, says Cabot. Haslam was more enthusiastic about McDaniels, and while reports indicated McDaniels pulled out of the mix, the Patriots offensive coordinator actually contacted the Browns to get his name back into consideration. He remained in the running right up until the Browns decided on Mike Pettine, according to Cabot.
- Cabot writes that Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase was the only candidate on the Browns’ list to actually decline an interview, which seems to contradict an earlier suggestion that O’Brien wasn’t interested in interviewing with the team. Perhaps O’Brien wasn’t formally on the Browns’ list of targets this time around, after interviewing with the club a year ago.
- In the first installment of a two-part piece for ESPNCleveland.com, Tony Grossi spoke to Farmer about taking over as the Browns’ general manager.