The Cleveland Browns have hired John Dorsey to be their team’s next general manager, as first reported by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and later confirmed by the team. The team had fired their previous GM and executive vice preident Sashi Brown earlier in the day.
Dorsey last served as the GM of the Chiefs from 2013-2016 before agreeing to part ways with the team.
It didn’t take Dorsey long to start making moves. He released wide receiver Kenny Britt on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
What did John Dorsey say? “Football is what I know, it is what I love, it is what I have worked my whole career at and I thrive on every element that goes into building a winning football team,” said Dorsey. “I have spent a majority of my football life with two franchises that also have storied history and I think I have a feel for the mentality of the fans in Cleveland and what it would mean to recreate the success this franchise once had.”
He added, “I also have quickly realized how passionate Jimmy and Dee are about bringing a winning team to the city and would have not taken the job if I didn’t think the right ownership was in place. I am eager to work with Hue, his staff, and our personnel department and help bring us the success these fans so deserve.”
What did Jimmy Haslam say? Team owner Jimmy Haslam made it clear what Dorsey’s focus will be.
Jimmy Haslam: "The Cleveland Browns are not going to be successful into we get a quarterback ... we're going to do whatever it takes to find a quarterback." Says that will be John Dorsey's "No. 1 priority."— Patrick Maks (@maksimuspatrick) December 8, 2017
Haslam and his wife, Dee, released a statement Thursday on the hiring of Dorsey:
“We are thrilled to have John Dorsey lead our football operations. John has been immersed in the NFL for 26 years, won two Super Bowls, built sustainable winning football teams and is highly respected for his football acumen. We know we have a critical and very positive opportunity ahead of us to profoundly impact the foundation of this football team. Bringing in someone of John Dorsey’s caliber, his track record of success and his experience, significantly strengthens our opportunities to build a winning football team and that has been, and continues to be, what we want for our fans.”
Dorsey, Jackson, and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta will all report directly to the Haslams, according to Patrick Maks of the Browns’ official website.
Who else was a candidate? The hire didn’t come without some blowback from John Wooten, the chairman of Fritz Pollard Alliance, which promotes diversity and equality of job opportunity in the coaching, front office, and scouting staffs of NFL teams:
John Wooten, chairman of Fritz Pollard Alliance, is concerned about Browns’ hiring process. “I’m deeply bothered by it,” Wooten said. “I’ll be talking to the league about it because it bothers me. It doesn’t seem right. Why wouldn’t you interview one of the recommended people?”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 8, 2017
Haslam says the team did follow the proper procedure.
#Browns Haslam said he absolutely satisfied the Rooney Rule. Wouldn't say who he interviewed— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) December 8, 2017
Wooten later found out former Bills GM Doug Whaley was interviewed:
John Wooten of the Fritz Pollard Alliance says he's now satisfied that the Browns complied with the Rooney Rule by interviewing Doug Whaley before hiring John Dorsey as GM: "Once they told us who it was, I'm fine."— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) December 8, 2017
What about Hue Jackson? When the Browns fired Brown, the team confirmed that head coach Hue Jackson’s job would be safe.
“Hue Jackson will remain our coach and will return for the 2018 season but we feel it is necessary to take significant steps to strengthen our personnel department,” Haslam’s statement read. Jackson and Brown were “not on speaking terms” over the past month, sources told Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.
Jackson said Friday that he has already discussed the future of the team with Dorsey.
"What do we want this organization to be like, play like, look like when we move forward ... we have a lot of the same beliefs football-wise,” Jackson said.
Dorsey will be the Browns’ ninth GM since 1999 and will have six extra picks to use in the 2018 NFL draft. The Browns have five picks in the first two rounds, with two of them possibly being top-10 picks.