NFL notes: CEO, GM ousted in Browns’ overhaul

Jimmy Haslam’s Browns have had six straight years with at least 11 losses.
Jimmy Haslam’s Browns have had six straight years with at least 11 losses.

The Browns fired their coach after one season. Now they’re sweeping out their front office.

Owner Jimmy Haslam announced Tuesday that CEO Joe Banner will step down in the next two months and general manager Michael Lombardi is leaving the team.

‘‘Mike and Joe have left us in good position in terms of free agency and cap space as well as this year’s draft, where we have 10 overall picks and three of the first 35,’’ Haslam said at a news conference.


It’s yet another stunning development for a franchise that has undergone nearly constant change in the past 15 years.

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Haslam also said assistant general manager Ray Farmer, who was pursued by Miami to be the Dolphins’ GM this winter, has been promoted and will immediately take the over the team’s football operations and lead the Browns during free agency and draft.

Cleveland has two first-round picks in May’s draft and is well under the salary cap to spend on free agents.

Haslam added that president Alec Scheiner will keep his current role. The Browns will not fill the office of CEO.

The shakeup comes one month after the Browns finally hired coach Mike Pettine. Banner and Haslam had fired coach Rob Chudzinski after a 4-12 season, the Browns’ sixth straight with at least 11 losses.


‘‘Mike will have final say on the 45-man roster— who plays on Sundays — and Ray will have final say on the 53-player roster,’’ Haslam said.

Banner, who previously worked in Philadelphia, was hired by Haslam to run the team shortly after his ownership was approved by the league in 2012.

Lombardi’s departure ends a curious second stint with the team.

His hiring was widely panned by some Cleveland media members and many fans because of his time with Bill Belichick when he was Cleveland’s coach.

Lombardi kept a low profile over the past year in Cleveland and was not in attendance at any major news conferences.


Farmer was twice an all-ACC safety at Duke from 1992 to 1996.

He was drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round in 1996, and played three seasons at linebacker before having his playing career cut short by a knee injury.

Farmer was a Falcons scout (2002-06) and Kansas City’s director of pro personnel (2006-12) before coming to the Browns.

New role for Porter

Former All-Pro linebacker Joey Porter rejoined the Steelers as a defensive assistant coach.

Porter received his first coaching experience at his alma mater last season as a student assistant on Colorado State coach Jim McElwain’s staff while taking classes to complete his degree.

Porter worked with the Rams’ pass rushers, including linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who posted 12 sacks.

Porter played 13 seasons with Pittsburgh, Miami, and Arizona and was a four-time All-Pro.

Vikings look north

The Vikings signed linebacker Simoni Lawrence, who played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last season in the CFL.

Lawrence, who has been attached to four other NFL teams, has been in training camps before, but he has never appeared in a game.

He has also played in the United Football League.