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Pluto: Browns' Haslam putting hopes of team in rookie GM
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam announced a shake up of the front office on Tuesday -- promoting assistant GM Ray Farmer to the helm

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
The Cleveland Browns on Tuesday promoted Ray Farmer to General Manager
Courtesy of Cleveland Browns
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The Browns have shaken up their front office … just weeks after hiring a new coach and several months before a critical draft. Owner Jimmy Haslam announced Tuesday that Ray Farmer has been promoted to replace Mike Lombardi as GM, and CEO Joe Banner – who’s been with the team for a year -- will be gone in two months. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says the changes came as a total surprise. 

LISTEN: Terry Pluto on Browns shake up

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Terry Pluto says the news was a shock because of its timing, if nothing else.

“I thought that when Rob Chudzinski was fired after one year that meant that Jimmy Haslam, the Browns owner, had confidence in Joe Banner and Michael Lombadi, his general manger. (That’s) because usually, if you’re going to clean house right after the season, you fire everybody all at one.”

The changes announced Tuesday include the promotion of Ray Farmer to replace Lombardi as GM, and the departure of CEO Banner altogether in two months.

Part of the changes could have been expected

“Ray Farmer had a chance to become general manager of the Miami Dolphins. He turned that down. …  I thought he’d (Lombardi) just be demoted and Ray Farmer would become GM – that part didn’t surprise me because I assumed he’d be promised something or why wouldn’t you go to Miami?”

But the departure of Banner, who “really had a lot to say about how the team is run, … that is the shocker to me.”

“In my mind now, they just wasted six weeks.”

Haslam is demonstrating some consistency
“He fired a whole bunch of people in his truck stop company, Pilot Flying J. He fired a coach after a year. He’s turning his whole front office upside down after a year.”

And “he is clearly going to count on Ray Farmer to be the guy to bring the Browns back.”

That faith may be well placed. Farmer worked for a friend of Pluto’s, Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli.

“He told me he thought Farmer one day would be a very good general manager. But Farmer himself has never run the draft, he’s never hired the coach, he’s always been further down the food chain.”

Rookies at the helm
So the Browns have a rookie GM heading into “perhaps the biggest draft for the Browns in the last 10 years or so.”

Pluto says there’s also a little bit of confusion given that Banner was the man who just hired the Browns rookie head coach Mike Pettine. “I assume Ray Farmer green-lighted it, but he was not in on the coaching interviews. So I don’t know exactly what happened.”

“All I know is this: They fire an awful lot of people around this town in pro sports.”

“All these guys are going to get paid for not working,” he added. And those who are working for the Browns now include “a rookie general manager, rookie head coach and a rookie defensive coordinator.”

Related WKSU Stories

Cleveland Browns top two execs are gone; Farmer takes over as GM
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Haslam insists his Cleveland Browns are not dysfunctional
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pluto: Why smokers and drinkers pay for stadium upkeep instead of wealthy owners
Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Another Haslam exec pleads guilty in fuel-rebate scam
Monday, January 27, 2014

Cleveland Browns name Mike Pettine as new head coach
Thursday, January 23, 2014

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