NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi had been linked to the Browns for months, and this morning the team named him its vice president of player personnel.
Although he will not hold the title of general manager, Lombardi will head the Browns’ personnel department.
Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner fired General Manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur on Dec. 31. They hired coach Rob Chudzinski on Jan. 10 to succeed Shurmur, and now Lombardi replaces Heckert as the organization’s top personnel chief.
But Banner, the former president of the Philadelphia Eagles, will wield significant power in personnel decisions and could have final say on the drafting, signing and trading of players. The Browns will have a chance to explain their division of authority during a news conference at 11:30 a.m. today at their headquarters in Berea.
Lombardi has 22 years of experience as an NFL front-office executive, but he hasn’t worked for a team since 2007, when the Oakland Raiders fired him. He’ll reunite with Banner. Lombardi helped Banner and the Eagles draft and make other personnel decisions from 1997-98.
This will be Lombardi’s second stint in Cleveland, where he previously worked from 1987-1995. Lombardi joined the Browns as a member of the scouting staff in 1987. He was named the team’s pro personnel director in 1989, a title he held until 1993. He was promoted to director of player personnel in 1993. He served as the right-hand man of coach Bill Belichick from 1991 until the original Browns moved to Baltimore following the 1995 season.
Lombardi joined the NFL personnel ranks in 1984. He spent three seasons (1984-86) in the personnel department of the San Francisco 49ers.
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