BEREA, Ohio—With the Browns, there's never a dull moment.
As the team prepares for the Indianapolis Combine next week, Jimmy Haslam made some major moves as the team heads to free agency and the NFL Draft.
He promoted assistant General Manager Ray Farmer to General Manager and announced that Joe Banner will be stepping down as CEO in the next two months. He also announced that current GM Mike Lombardi will leave the organization.
"First of all, we wanted to capitalize on the knowledge, experience and character we're fortunate to have in Ray Farmer," Haslam said in a statement. "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.
Farmer will immediately take the over the team's football operations and lead the Browns during free agency and the draft.
"We appreciate Joe's contributions to the Cleveland Browns, especially in helping us as new owners," Haslam said. "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."
Banner also released a statement.
"It is bittersweet leaving the Browns organization," he said in the statement. "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."
The team has called a press conference for later this morning.