Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam held a press conference in Berea at 11:30 AM EST on Tuesday to announce the removal of general manager Michael Lombardi, the promotion of Ray Farmer to general manager, the transition away from Joe Banner. He also fielded questions from the media. Haslam seemed to be a little more "candid" than usual with his answers; here are my quick notes from the presser:
- Haslam has been talking to Banner for weeks, dating to before the hiring of Mike Pettine as head coach, about a restructuring of the organization. My guess is that Banner and Haslam didn't have a major falling out, but that Banner did not agree with the decision to restructure the organization, hence his departure. Regarding all of the major changes, Haslam conceded that there is no primer/handbook to running an NFL team, and that he is learning on the go.
- The way things will work now is that team president Alec Scheiner will run the business side of things. Scheiner, Farmer, and Pettine will all report to Haslam directly. Haslam is going to be taking a much more hands-on approach, and we can expect to see him playing a bigger presence in Berea.
- Haslam said that Ray Farmer did not know he would be receiving a promotion in Cleveland when he made the decision to turn down the Miami Dolphins' general manager position.
- He continued to shoot down the idea that coaching candidates didn't want to talk to the Browns; he is remaining firm/confident with the team's decision to hire Pettine. Haslam also continued blaming the media for the false belief that things were "dysfunctional/toxic" with the front office.
- An interesting question came up (I think from Mary Kay Cabot) about Banner's comments right after the team hired Pettine, when he said that his biggest regret about the process was deciding to pass up on Dan Quinn as a head coaching candidate. Reading between the lines during the press conference, Haslam said that he wanted Pettine, and Banner wanted Dan Quinn (or at least to interview him again).
- Haslam was clear that Farmer will have the final say on the assembly of the 53-man roster, while Pettine will have the final say of which players are suited up on gameday. Haslam was complimentary of Scheiner for his role in the hiring of Pettine, and for his role in helping to bring Farmer to the organization in the first place. Translation: Banner let Haslam down, while Scheiner was doing all of the good deeds in the background (and that includes the stadium renovations that are in-the-works).
- He declined to comment on any Flying Pilot J matters, wanting to keep attention focused on the Cleveland Browns.
What did you think of the press conference?