Thoughts Around The League On Mike Lombardi

Following the unpopular hire of Michael Lombardi as VP of player personnel by the Browns yesterday morning, several league coaches, TV announcers, and former players have positive things to say about the Browns’ hire and Lombardi’s football knowledge.

Former Raiders quarterback and current CBS analyst Rich Gannon:

“Going back to when we were together in Oakland, there was a handful of people in that building that I thought were really ultimately responsible for our success. We won AFC West titles, went to AFC Championship games and to the Super Bowl, and one of those guys was Mike Lombardi. He was a guy that I really relied on, really leaned on. I was always kind of drawn to him out on the practice field or in the building. I would ask him a lot of questions. He was great at advanced scouting and giving me a breakdown of the upcoming opponent, what the issues were, what the concerns, what our strengths would be against some of their weaknesses and things like that. He’s always been a football guy. Even when Mike left the business and started doing television, he never really got away from evaluating talent. He was always watching tape, he was always studying film and he was always studying teams.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick:

“The foundation of our program in New England had its roots in Cleveland.  Mike was instrumental in setting up the personnel structure of that program, which is the basis for our current system.  Mike is one of the brightest football minds I have ever worked with.  He has a strong understanding of every aspect of the game and the process of putting a team together.  Mike’s strong work ethic combined with his extensive experience in the NFL will give the Cleveland Browns an exceptional man for this position.”

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz:

“Michael is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met in the NFL. He has an encyclopedia-type knowledge of NFL and college personnel and can speak on any player in the league without looking at notes. I first worked with Michael in Cleveland from 1993-95. Along with Coach (Bill) Belichick, Michael developed a system of evaluating and developing players that is still used by a number of teams. Michael has also shown a commitment in continuing to develop and improve that system over the years. I have confidence that Michael will be an important part of the management team that will make the Browns a winner.”

Related: Lombardi Has A Lot To Prove To Browns Fans

  • MrCleaveland

    The question that hasn’t been answered is, If he is so great, how come nobody else hired him during the past five years?

  • BomberDawg

    He will live or die by the success or failure of who he picks at 6 this year. Biggest choice of his life. It will be interesting to say the least. Bjoern Werner or DeMarcus Milliner should be that pick. Let’s see what you’re made of Lombardi.

  • EdgewaterJoe

    Hope they’re right. I would be happy beyond belief if I was wrong!

  • Porckchopexpress

    My question is why are we all operating under an assumption without evidence that no team(s) have reached out to him? What level of ESPN Insider do you have become to get daily updates from the private communications team owners?

  • MrCleaveland

    That’s a very good question, pork. Candidly, I have a state-of-the-art tinfoil hat that receives trillions of bits of digital data that are beamed from ESPN satellites every hour. In addition, I have bugged the offices, homes, and cell phones of every NFL team executive, and I receive continuously streamed data during their business hours as well as after hours. I rarely sleep, and as you can imagine, I look like hell. But I know what I’m talking about.

    Which raises the question, If I’m so great, how come no NFL team has hired me?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    This type of thing is one of those where I’d be more shocked if someone came out and said something negative. For me these endorsements don’t really mean a thing especially Belichick since both he and Lombardi basically had their start with the real Cleveland Browns.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    My favorite kind of response: How do you know you weren’t there you didn’t hear it, see it, smell it, or touch it?

  • todd

    I see him picking a quality RB at 6

  • Porckchop

    Well, … how do you know?

  • Pork chopexpress

    How long do I have to be in Nerd club before I get the hat? Cuz all Ive gotten so far is A replica of Ricardo Montebauns plastic chest from Wrath of Kahn

  • Jim

    There’s this, and the fact that most NFL front offices and reporters spread rumors like fourth grade girls. If he was being considered by any other team, you would have heard a rumor; especially since Lombardi was in the media. But you heard nothing. Zip. Nada. All you heard were rumors of him to the Browns. The hire was determined the second Joe Banner came to Cleveland.

  • MrCleaveland

    Pork, your request has been submitted to the Nerd Tribunal. Any evidence of worthiness that you can provide — such as a recent divorce, bankruptcy, or eviction — would help your case.

  • FearTheRoo

    He’s a great NFL mind, yet he criticized the picks of both Joe Haden and Josh Gordon? Our best defensive player and best WR?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Lennay Kekua’s sisters husbands brother in law’s second cousin who is married to an NFL executive messaged me on Facebook.

  • Wow

    If teams were interested, the guy would have been hired by now .

  • Dinner

    As long as he doesn’t have final say on the roster, and on draft selections, I’m cool with this hiring.

  • Porckxhop

    I would submit the manequin I dressed up as bikini Princess Leia, howver I would submit that The Tribunal would not want to touch it

  • Porck

    What Im saying is that the process of hiring isnt nationalnews the hires are. If you read other towns news sources you will frequently see all sorts of names attatched to jobs that you wouldnt normally hear about. The whole nobody wanted him angle is largely a Grossi created story and I dont think anyone has done the due dillogence for me to buy it blindly.

  • Lunch

    Maybe Lombardi chose not to seek employment with another NFL team at the time.

  • Ritz

    I know the fans and media hate the hire – but I’d be MORE worried if Banner and Co. did not hire the person who they thought was best for the job and rather capitulated to the fans/media. Say what you will about the hire, but I have little doubt Banner would invite all the criticism if he didn’t believe Lombardi was the best man for the job.

  • Jaker


  • Porckchop

    Unless he wasnt imterestwd im them. Ask Cowher how hard it is to give up the tv gig

  • jimkanicki

    That’s fan question right there.
    –Jim Nantz

    no seriously, go to 5:40 in the interview, that’s Nantz’ response to your silly fan question.

  • TOJ

    Agreed….Banner deserves the right to cut his own throat or succeed accordingly with the hires of his choosing. The Grossis of the world should afford him that chance.

  • saggy

    I’m actually swayed by the endorsement of Belichik. I’ll give this guy my trust until he un-earns it.

  • SDA

    I’ve done some research. After 3 glasses of Chivas it just doesn’t seem to matter anymore!

  • Garry_Owen

    It’s really not so much a tribunal as it is a triumvirate. The problem is that the rotation sequence is so confusing that we can never remember who’s on it at any given time. So nothing ever gets done.

  • Harv 21

    “He has an encyclopedia-type knowledge of NFL and college personnel and
    can speak on any player in the league without looking at notes.”

    Now wait a sec, I watched the whole presser and the guy didn’t know nuthin about nobody on this roster, and his network comments were like, show biz stuff or whatever that you guys know about, being in the business and all.

    So who is our new guy really – Banner’s half-wit cousin he always promised his aunt he’d hire to get out of her basement?

  • Riz

    Yeah, but if Belichick thinks he is such a great football mind, how come he never brought him in? It’s not like Lombardi (or anyone else for that matter) would turn down a chance to join that organization’s front office.

  • Jason Hurley

    To be fair, on Gordon he criticized paying a 2nd rounder, not the pick on its own.

  • Big Z

    Like these guys were going to speak poorly of Lombardi to the media… Worst hire ever.

  • zonk

    Mr. Nantz, that’s an overblown television ego response to a legitimate fan question asked by a representative of fans on 92.3. . Now please be quiet and let Clark Kellogg make up for another one of your ignorant comments.