Although the search for a head coach has been the top priority of the Browns since they fired Pat Shurmur on Monday, the team’s brass has also been preparing for its quest to secure a chief for the personnel department.
The Browns requested permission to interview Kansas City Chiefs director of pro personnel Ray Farmer and Minnesota Vikings assistant general manager George Paton, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Saturday.
In addition to ousting Shurmur, owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner fired General Manager Tom Heckert the same day.
The Browns won’t comment on candidates or interviews during their search, but several names have surfaced.
Farmer and Paton are the most recent additions to the list.
Farmer has spent seven seasons as the Chiefs’ director of pro personnel, overseeing the scouting of all players with professional experience. From 2002-05, he served as a pro scout for the Atlanta Falcons. Farmer would satisfy the Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates.
The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Farmer in the fourth round in 1996, when Banner oversaw the day-to-day operations of the franchise. Farmer played linebacker for three seasons before his career was cut short by a knee injury.
Paton has spent six seasons with the Vikings as the assistant to General Manager Rick Spielman. Paton’s primary responsibilities include coordinating scouting and personnel functions for the Vikings’ pro scouting department and helping the college scouting department prepare for the draft.
He was the director of pro personnel for the Miami Dolphins from 2001-06 and the assistant director of pro personnel for the Chicago Bears before that. In 2000, he began his NFL career in the college and pro scouting departments of the Bears.
NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi, Seattle Seahawks vice president of football administration John Idzik and San Francisco 49ers director of player personnel Tom Gamble are other personnel men who are reportedly on the Browns’ radar. The Browns also asked the 49ers for permission to interview Gamble, NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported.
Lombardi has been linked to the Browns for months partly because he and Banner worked together with the Eagles from 1997-98. In a radio interview last week, Lombardi told 92.3 The Fan the Browns have not contacted him yet, but he “would certainly listen” if they reached out.
No leap into NFL?
University of Alabama coach Nick Saban told reporters Saturday during the BCS National Championship media day that he has no desire to return to the NFL. Saban, a Kent State University graduate who went 15-17 in two seasons as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins (2005-06), has reportedly been on the Browns’ radar for months.
“I don’t have any unfinished business in the NFL,” Saban said. “It’s not something I’m concerned about. It’s not even anything I want to do.”
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly also said he won’t be fleeing for the NFL.
“Leaving is not an option,” Kelly said. “I don’t even think about it.”
No. 1 Notre Dame will face No. 2 Alabama on Monday night.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com.