Michael Lombardi, the NFL Network commentator, is rumored to be a candidate for GM in Cleveland, according to Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe. Tom Heckert is the current GM in Cleveland, hired by Mike Holmgren in 2010. However, with new ownership buying the team, Joe Banner coming in as president, and Holmgren leaving, change could be in the works.
And if Lombardi is chosen, well, according to Bedard, it could be to get Nick Saban to return to the NFL:
According to the NFL sources, 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.
One of Saban’s many missteps in Miami — the first being that he accepted a job he really didn’t want — was hiring a general manager in Randy Mueller who did not know the Belichick personnel system. Mueller, who was a good personnel man when running his own ship with the Saints, had to learn Saban’s system on the fly, and it never really clicked.
Lombardi has strong ties to Belichick and Pioli, and was with them–and Saban–in Cleveland in the early 1990’s. If Lombardi does not deliver Saban, then the next choice could be Josh McDaniels. You might recall that Lombardi said that Josh McDaniels would be his first choice as a head coach last season, when the Chiefs were searching for a new coach after firing Todd Haley.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]