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Once again, Cleveland Browns make several changes in front office

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The Cleveland Browns are rebooting their front office again.

The Browns announced today that assistant general manager Ray Farmer has been promoted to general manager, and general manager Mike Lombardi has left the organization immediately. Cleveland CEO Joe Banner is transitioning out of his role in two months.

Farmer takes charge of all football operations heading into free agency and the NFL draft. Team president Alec Scheiner remains in charge of business operations.

The Browns' reputation around the NFL had already taken a hit when they fired coach Rob Chudzinski after one season and then conducted a meandering job search that ended when they hired former Ravens, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills assistant Mike Pettine.

Farmer has a strong reputation around the league, and it appears he knew what was coming when he pulled out of the Miami Dolphins' general manager search when it looked like he was the favorite to land that job. Now, he's running the Browns.

“First of all, we wanted to capitalize on the knowledge, experience and character we’re fortunate to have in Ray Farmer," owner Jimmy 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.

"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.”

A former Philadelphia Eagles executive, Banner released a statement.

"It is bittersweet leaving the Browns organization," Banner said. "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.”

awilson@baltsun.com

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