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.”