At first it seemed that Alec Scheiner would be bringing in a head coach that would have personnel power on the level of Bill Belichick in New England. When that head coach never surfaced, Scheiner turned to one of the most well-regarded personnel men of recent memory to fill Cleveland’s GM vacancy…Michael Lombardi. Well, to be exact, his new title with the Browns is Executive Vice President of Player Personnel, which is a fancy way of saying, “the guy that is going to build our roster for our head coach.” He has spent the past few years in broadcasting with NFL Network as their resident personnel expert and eye into the dark corners of how NFL franchises conduct their business. Not to mention his constant appearances on Bill Simmons’ B.S. Report to talk football with the Sports Guy. He is finally back where he belongs, in a front office, and in Cleveland no less.
Lombardi holds strong ties to the Cleveland franchise, even if the franchise he was a part of is not technically the one that now wears the burnt orange and brown. He spent time with the Cleveland franchise prior to its move to Baltimore in 1996. Many thought that the Browns were on their way to success and Lombardi was a major part of that, he served as Director of Player Personnel and was responsible for working with head coach Bill Belichick on building the roster. He was personally hurt after the move and talks fondly of his time in Cleveland. He jumped around the league for a few years after leaving the Browns and eventually ended up in Oakland from 1998-2007.
It is now Lombardi’s job to get to Cleveland and spend the next few months studying the incoming draft class and free agent class with new head coach Rob Chudzinski to get Cleveland to the next level. I have no doubt he is happy to be back working in Cleveland and will be putting in all the work he can to bring these Browns to the Super Bowl.