As if the smoke had not been billowing enough as it was, a report from The Boston Globe links media vagabond Michael Lombardi and Alabama head coach Nick Saban to the Cleveland Browns as a leadership team of the future.
Greg Bedard, citing league sources, states that there is “indeed fire” behind said smoke.
“[Browns CEO Joe] Banner, who was with [current Browns GM Tom] Heckert with the Eagles from 2001-09, also has a connection to Lombardi, who was in personnel with the Eagles from 1997-98,” writes Bedard. “Lombardi has been associated with winning teams wherever he’s been, from Bill Walsh’s 49ers, to the Browns (where he helped build the organization into a Super Bowl contender before Art Modell pulled the plug and moved the team to Baltimore), to the Eagles and the Raiders. Lombardi’s past weakness has been the cap, but Banner is an expert in that area.”
Per Bedard, it is also believed that Lombardi could provide a link to Saban, long been a target of Browns majority owner and SEC-fueled Jimmy Haslam III.
“According to the NFL sources,” writes Bedard, “Saban has let it be known that if he returns to the NFL — where he flopped, going 15-17 with the Dolphins from 2005-06 — it would likely be with Lombardi playing Pioli to his Belichick.”
The other two names listed in accordance with Lombardi were Oregon’s Chip Kelly and current New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.