Feb 11 (The Sports Xchange) - A shake-up of the Cleveland Browns front office on Tuesday included the departure of chief executive Joe Banner and general manager Mike Lombardi.
Ray Farmer will take over as general manager and lead the team's football operations during free agency and the NFL Draft. Team president Alec Scheiner will remain in charge of business operations.
Banner will transition out of his role as CEO over the next two months, the team said. Lombardi is departing the organization.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam downplayed the notion that the franchise is in disarray and had trouble attracting candidates to Cleveland during its coaching search last month.
"I will just tell you that the people I talked to around the country do not think this isn't an outstanding opportunity here in Cleveland, whether it's to coach, play or work," Haslam said. "And I continue to hear that."
Farmer was pursued by the Miami Dolphins after the 2013 season for their general manager opening but elected to remain with the Browns.
Farmer, who signed a four-year contract, was asked about working with a head coach he didn't hire.
"I didn't have the hiring authority, but I definitely was well aware and communicated well with the search party that was out speaking (with candidates)," Farmer said.
"I did my research on Mike Pettine. I have a really good relationship with Mike Pettine. I had a moment this morning to spend some one-on-one time (with Pettine), after the decision was made, to really kind of start to solidify that relationship. I'm excited about the opportunity; I think he is, as well; and I think we're going to work well together."
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NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith called anonymous critics of Michael Sam as "gutless" for indicating his draft stock will drop by announcing that he is gay.
Sam, an All-America defensive end at Missouri, announced he is gay during interviews Sunday with the New York Times and with ESPN. Sam would become the first openly gay player in NFL history assuming he is drafted.
Sports Illustrated and themmqb.com, citing multiple league general managers, reported that Sam's projected draft stock would drop significantly because of his announcement.
"When you contrast a group of anonymous GMs against a 24-year-old college player, it seems like only one of them had the guts to put his name behind his message," Smith told CSN Washington on Monday. "So my first reaction has nothing to do with Michael Sam. My reaction is to call those GMs for what they are. They're gutless."
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Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is hooking up with Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports to represent him, according to a report.
Suh is entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Lions in 2014. His base salary for next season is $12.55 million and it will count $22.4 million against the Lions' cap.
The Lions indicated that they hope to sign Suh to a long-term deal despite recent reports that teammates consider him a problem in the locker room.
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Engram, 41, spent the past two seasons as the wide receivers coach at the University of Pittsburgh. The 14-year NFL veteran began his coaching career in 2011 with the San Francisco 49ers as an offensive assistant.
Engram started his playing career in 1996 with the Chicago Bears, moved on after four years to the Seattle Seahawks and finished with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009. He had 650 career receptions.
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The coaching job will be his first in the NFL after a 13-year playing career that spanned 188 games. The 36-year-old Porter retired as a player in 2012.
Porter was drafted by the Steelers in the third round in 1999 and remained with the team through the 2006 season. He spent three years with the Miami Dolphins and concluded his career on the field with the Arizona Cardinals in 2010-11.
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After a season in which he posted a career-low sack total, Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware is due to undergo right elbow surgery.
According to ESPN.com, Ware will have the operation on Feb. 18, but he doesn't affect to miss much of his offseason training regimen. Ware told the website that the elbow was a problem throughout the past two years. (Editing by Andrew Both)