Seventeen years ago, the Cleveland Browns relied on the expertise of Michael Lombardi as Pro Personnel Director. Had the Browns not moved to Baltimore, Lombardi would have played a part in at least one Super Bowl in Cleveland. From 1987 to 1996, Lombardi, not related to coaching legend Vince Lombardi, worked for the Browns helping make important decisions. Could Lombardi be coming back to Cleveland?
As the Browns enter the second half of the season, all signs are pointing to the dismissing of current General Manager Tom Heckert at the end of the season. Even Heckert believes so as those close to him say. New owner Jimmy Haslam has brought in Joe Banner as his CEO and right hand man. With Mike Holmgren also out at the end of the year to a mutually agreed upon retirement, together they must fill a vacancy. There may not be more experienced person to fill the void than Lombardi.
As an NFL executive, Lombardi has spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders, and Browns. His responsibilities have included evaluating players on pro and college level, consulting, managing salary caps, overseeing scouting departments, and handling player contracts. Lombardi has worked in every facet on the business side of the NFL.
From 2008 to 2010, Lombardi was a sportswriter for the likes of Sports Illustrated’s si.com, NationalFootballPost.com (which he founded), and nfl.com. Keeping up his versatility, Lombardi has also been a football analyst on television sharing his knowledge on shows like NFL Network’s Total Access and Path To The Draft. It is safe to say the guy knows football.
Although Heckert has done a decent job in his drafts, it seems clear that he will no longer be with the Browns come the 2013 season. A guy like Lombardi could make everyone quickly forget Heckert.
If Lombardi is interested, there should be no reason to turn down a man with twenty years of NFL personnel experience. In order for Haslam to keep his promises, the next general manager in Cleveland has to be perfect.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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