BEREA, Ohio - The latest re-shaping of the perennially-losing and perpetually-changing Cleveland Browns, a process that officially started with new owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner taking over last October, is now complete at the highest levels.
Last week's hiring of Rob Chudzinski as head coach made sense, even as it didn't make much of a national splash.
The newest and presumably last major move raises eyebrows. Michael Lombardi is in, officially, as vice president of player personnel. That means he gets a seat at the head table next to Banner. It's what Banner has had cooked up for months, a reunion with a friend from Banner's early days with the Philadelphia Eagles 15 years ago. For the second time in a week, the Browns introduced a man no other team was interviewing for a high-level job.
Now, Banner's plan is out there. He's sticking his neck out, too.
"Listen, I understand that I'm going out on the limb myself by hiring Mike," Banner ...