nfl notebook

Notes: Michael Lombardi brings baggage to Browns

Michael Lombardi comes back to the Browns as unpopular as the day he left.

He realizes there are Cleveland fans who still despise him and Bill Belichick for releasing popular quarterback Bernie Kosar in 1993. Lombardi knows there are skeptics who question his ability to evaluate talent after failed drafts in Oakland. He understands the doubts about him jumping back into a front office after five years on TV. Lombardi can’t change the past, so he’s moving forward.

‘‘I’m just asking for a fair and honest chance,’’ he said.


Lombardi, who most recently worked as an analyst for NFL Network, was introduced as Cleveland’s new vice president of player personnel on Friday, a hiring met with mostly disapproval by many Browns fans who associate him with those dark days in the mid-1990s before Art Modell moved the franchise to Baltimore.

Get Breaking Sports Alerts in your inbox:
Be the first to know the latest sports news as it happens.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Lombardi is aware of the negativity surrounding his return. The only thing he can do to change people’s minds is help build the Browns into a consistent winner.

‘‘Look,’’ he said. ‘‘There is a great passion for football in this town. To me, whether it was a positive reaction or a negative reaction, the reaction is important because that’s how important football is. It’s my job to prove the reaction to be positive.’’

He last worked in the NFL in 2007, the final of his eight years working under Al Davis, Oakland’s maverick owner.

Jets name Idzik GM

John Idzik will try to turn things around for the troubled New York Jets.


The Jets hired the Seahawks executive to be their general manager, completing an interview process that began two weeks ago and included 10 candidates. Idzik, 52, the Seahawks’ vice president of football administration, beat out Steelers executive Omar Khan and Jets assistant GM Scott Cohen, among others, for the job that opened when the Jets fired Mike Tannenbaum Dec. 31 after seven seasons.

Idzik, who has a math degree from Dartmouth, will have to make decisions on whether to keep quarterbacks MarkSanchez, who is due $8.25 million in guarantees next season and would cost the Jets a $17.1 million cap hit if they cut him, and Tim Tebow, who is not expected back after one disappointing season.

Fixing the offense will be left to Marty Mornhinweg, who was hired as offensive coordinator Friday after he served in the same position the past seven years with the Eagles.

Mornhinweg, who replaced the fired Tony Sparano, becomes the Jets’ third offensive coordinator in as many seasons. Mornhinweg is expected to bring a more wide-open approach to the Jets, who have relied more often on a run-first, ‘‘Ground and Pound’’ philosophy under coach Rex Ryan.

Arians vows change

After nearly 38 years in the business, at age 60, Bruce Arians finally is an NFL head coach. And he’s made it clear in a hurry that he’s ready to run with it. Arians was introduced as coach of the Cardinals, promising to build a team that’s ‘‘disciplined, fast and physical — accountable, no excuses.’’ Arians got to work quickly, parting ways with defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who in a matter of hours was named to the same position in Cleveland . . . The Panthers named quarterbacks coach Mike Shula as their new offensive coordinator and promoted two other assistants. Richard Rodgers will become the special teams coordinator after serving that role on an interim basis last season. And Ricky Proehl was promoted to wide receivers coach after working as the assistant receivers coach in 2012 . . . The Bears and new coach Marc Trestman hired Mel Tucker as defensive coordinator, Matt Cavanaugh as quarterbacks coach, and Skip Peete as running backs coach. Tucker replaces Rod Marinelli, who was hired by the Cowboys to be defensive line coach. Cavanaugh spent the past four seasons as the Jets’ quarterbacks coach and Peete was fired after six seasons in Dallas . . . Broncos QB Peyton Manning’s new position coach is Greg Knapp, a veteran of nearly two decades in the NFL. He replaces Adam Gase, 34, who was promoted to offensive coordinator . . . A person familiar with the decision said Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has accepted the same position with the Colts, where he will be reunited with quarterback Andrew Luck.

Scrutiny over hiring


The NFL said it will consider making revisions to the “Rooney Rule,” which mandates that teams must interview at least one minority candidate for front office and head coaching jobs, after 15 vacancies recently filled did not include any minorities . . . Bengals tackle Andre Smith was free on bond after his arrest on a charge of carrying a loaded gun at Atlanta’s airport . . . Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer will play in his first Pro Bowl, replacing the injured Clay Matthews of Green Bay.