April 21, 2014

Medina
Partly sunny
66°F

Browns front office gets a tweak, assistant GM

BEREA — The Browns’ front office overhaul is now complete.

Farmer

Cleveland announced the hiring of Ray Farmer as its assistant general manager Tuesday, along with the shift of Michael Lombardi from vice president of player personnel to general manager.

Farmer, 38, spent the past seven seasons as the Chiefs’ director of pro personnel and also had a four-year run as a pro scout with the Falcons. He will help Lombardi manage the pro and college scouting departments.

“We had the opportunity to meet with Ray in our initial search for a general manager, and came away extremely impressed,” Cleveland CEO Joe Banner said.

“Ray is highly regarded in league circles as an outstanding evaluator of talent. We are very fortunate that we were able to add someone of Ray’s caliber to our personnel staff.”

In order to hire Farmer away from Kansas City — where he was under contract — the Browns had to offer him a promotion, according to NFL rules. They did so by changing Lombardi’s title, making Farmer’s new position one step above his previous job.

Lombardi, a former NFL Network analyst, has been serving as Cleveland’s de facto GM since being hired Jan. 18, but Banner and owner Jimmy Haslam III repeatedly said they were open to adding one more person to their front office.

Not only did Farmer wow them with his 11 years of NFL experience, his previous relationship with longtime Eagles executive Banner worked in his favor.

Farmer, who was a standout safety at Duke, was a fourth-round pick by Philadelphia in the 1996 NFL Draft, playing three seasons at linebacker with the Eagles before a knee injury ended his career after 32 games and 16 starts.

“I have known Ray since he played with us in Philadelphia and I’ve followed his career,” Banner said. “I’ve always had him in mind as somebody that I potentially would bring into an organization I was part of, and the situation presented itself. We’ve actually been working on this for a little while, and were finally able to execute it.”

Banner added that new Browns coach Rob Chudzinski will continue to work directly under him, not report to Lombardi or Farmer on the football operations side.

Farmer was a four-year letterman with the Blue Devils, where he was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. He blocked an NCAA-record eight extra points while at Duke, where he also worked as an academic coordinator for football following his retirement from the NFL.

The White Plains, N.Y., native and his wife, Vernet, have two children.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.