BEREA, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland Browns shake up the front office. Browns CEO, Joe Banner and General Manager, Michael Lombardi are out. Ray Farmer is now the new GM. He takes over immediately.
Farmer's first order of business -- free agency and the upcoming draft.
"I believe I am ready. Running the draft is as simple as the process. You have to have a process that you create that answers all of the questions in advance. The draft, the hay is in the barn by the time you actually get to picking players. It is the process that you go through to get to that point. I think I am definitely solidified in that process. I've been involved in that process numerous times. We'll be prepared when it's time to select the players, and players that fit what Coach Pettine wants to do," Ray Farmer said.
The team announced Tuesday morning Banner will be stepping down in the next two months as CEO. According to Browns owner, Jimmy Haslam the team will not have a CEO. Everyone will report to him.
Haslam says he wants fans to understand he's committed to bringing winning to the Browns.
He believes this new restructure will be simpler and offer more responsibility and authority.
"I felt like the previous set up was a little cumbersome. I think the way we're organized now is much more streamlined, much more efficient and much more clear who's in charge of what," said Haslam.
Farmer served as assistant GM for the Browns. Haslam believes he's ready to be the GM right here and right now.
"Ray's been here a year and our scouts are in place. So, it's not like we're bringing in somebody totally new... It's not much change in the organization as it might appear to be," said Haslam.
There are questions about the timing of it all. The Browns just hired a coach with Banner and Lombardi. It's now clear that it was Haslam who was sold on Mike Pettine, maybe without the full support of Banner, who actually said he regretted not having a second interview with Seattle's defensive coordinator.
Haslam released the following statement:
"First of all, we wanted to capitalize on the knowledge, experience and character we're fortunate to have in Ray Farmer. Ray has a tremendous football IQ, he's compelling, and he understands the types of players we need to acquire and develop in order to win in Cleveland. He embraces his partnership with Mike Pettine, which is critical in helping build the right team. Ray will provide excellent leadership in our front office.
"We appreciate Joe's contributions to the Cleveland Browns, especially in helping us as new owners. He was committed to creating a successful organization and bringing in talented individuals. We thank him for his work and dedication. We wish him and his family the best.
"Alec will continue in his role as President of this team. I think he's one of the most intelligent and innovative young executives in the NFL.
"We're also grateful for Mike Lombardi's efforts and commitment since rejoining our organization. He is an experienced and creative NFL executive with a unique ability to see the big picture. He has tremendous instincts and I know he'll be a valuable addition to any NFL organization. We simply wanted to give Ray this opportunity that he's earned. We wanted to move forward under his leadership and capabilities.
"The purpose of these moves is to unify our team with one, unequivocal goal: Provide our fans with the winning organization they have long deserved."
Statement from Joe Banner:
"It is bittersweet leaving the Browns organization. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Jimmy Haslam and helping him set the infrastructure for this franchise. I am proud of the talented individuals we brought in to help lead this team and feel that the Cleveland Browns are in good hands moving forward."