Bill Belichick called Cleveland twice and Urban Meyer once to put in a good word for Greg Schiano when the Browns were struggling through their recent head coaching search, according to a detailed and explosive report from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King. A day after Browns owner Jimmy Haslam whacked his CEO, Joe Banner, and his GM, Michael Lombardi, new details have trickled out as to why the two were fired so fast. Banner had been on the job for a year and a half; Lombardi just 13 months.
* When the Browns brought in Ken Whisenhunt to talk about the head coaching job in January, he asked Banner point-blank: “Why didn’t you guys hire me last year?” Banner, who is basically a jock-sniffer who landed a job with the Eagles through his childhood friend (Jeffrey Lurie), and has zero football acumen, had the gall to tell Whisenhunt, “he didn’t think the staff he was putting together at the time was ‘a championship coaching staff.’” Whisenhunt, who took the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl five years ago, ended up accepting the Tennessee Titans job.
* Belichick called twice, and Meyer once, and then Banner and Haslam flew down to Florida to meet with Schiano. According to King, Banner was “cold” and didn’t participate much, even though his boss (Haslam) was intrigued.
So here was a guy – Banner – who has accomplished nothing, yet he’s talking down to an accomplished coach (Whisenhunt) and uninterested in what two of the best coaches in football in the last 15 years – Belichick and Meyer – have to say? That’s laughable.
It sounds like Haslam made the right move. That doesn’t mean Cleveland isn’t the biggest disaster in sports – it just means the Browns pressed the reset button for what feels like the third time in two years. Is the Farmer-Pettine combination one you see lasting for a few years? [via MMQB]
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