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Jimmy Haslam announces Ray Farmer as general manager, goes on the defensive with media

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam met with the media on Tuesday, announcing Ray Farmer as the team's sole general manager and generally being pretty defensive about the job he's done thus far.

Jason Miller

On Tuesday, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam announced significant organizational moves in a press conference. Those moves saw general manager Michael Lombardi and CEO Joe Banner given the boot in favor of new general manager Ray Farmer.

"Joe and I, after lots of conversation, mutually agreed it was best for the organization to streamline things," Haslam said to assembled media, "Accordingly, we've announced that Alec Scheiner, as I mentioned, will run our business side and will remain as president. (Mike) Pettine will remain as head coach and Farmer will be general manager."

Haslam went on to say that there will be no CEO, and that all three Scheiner, Pettine and Farmer will report to him. Banner will likely stay on with the team through the bulk of the offseason to "help transition" over that time period.

Both Banner and Lombardi are now in the same company as former head coach Rob Chudzinski they were all let go after just one season at the helm.

Haslam was very defensive of the Browns and where they stand as an organization, namely regarding the team's coaching search. Some have wondered if potential candidates simply avoided the job altogether due to the situation in Cleveland, possibly looking to the fact that Chudzinski wasn't given a fair chance to make things happen.

"I will accept comments and criticism about change. I will accept resposibility for changes that have been made," Haslam said, "There's no primer for being an NFL owner. It is learn on the go, if you will."

"I think the reports of people not wanting to talk to us are inaccurate," he went on to add, "I think we went through a very thorough search. Comments were made about how long it took. I think we got the best person available."

There were multiple reports that candidates for the head coaching job, eventually accepted by Pettine, former defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, took their names out of the running for the job after interviewing with the organization. As to whether or not that had something to do with Chudzinski or not, it's unclear. But Haslam seems to think that there was too much going on organizationally, and that things needed to be simplified.

"I felt like the previous setup was cumbersome," Haslam told the media, "I view my job as this: to provide the proper resources, to put the right people in the right place, to hold them accountable, and do everything I can to help them be successful."

That is similar to an earlier quote for Haslam, back when the NFL approved him as the new owner of the Browns. Haslam said then that he was going to be involved, "but involved in the proper way." He said that he had five people that reported to him at Pilot Flying J, and that they are all "smarter than I am, and they're all better at their rle then I am, and we let them do their jobs."

Haslam finished off that quote with this caveat, though: "On the other hand, we question them, we push them, we challenge them, we hold them accountable."

It wasn't the only time Haslam has made a reference to his time at Flying J, saying at another time that he's familiar with the process of putting the right people in place. "Running a company like Flying , we've hired a lot of senior executives," Haslam said, "I think we know that process, we know how to understand it and go about it and feel good about the hire of Joe," then referencing the hiring of Banner.

Clearly, Haslam believes that his input into how things are run isn't the be-all, end-all to the organization, but he's so far not been shy about sticking very, very close to the "accountability" line.

Of course, Haslam does go on to point out that Farmer has been with the organization for a year, noting that it's not someone being brought in from the outside. To close out, he became defensive again, saying that he "underestimated this," and suggesting that he be looked at as a "work in-progress."

Haslam did say that these moves are "the last of the major changes we'll make in the organization." You know, until the next one.

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