Now that the initial shock of Jimmy Haslam completely cleaning house in the Browns’ front office, it’s now time to peel back all the layers and find out what prompted Haslam’s decision.
The first layer was peeled back by Peter King of the MMQB in a column about the Browns’ current situation that was released late Tuesday night. In the column, King attempts to explain the circumstances surrounding the firings, but particularly the firing of CEO Joe Banner.
King reports that throughout the Browns’ coaching search there were seeds of doubts about Banner’s ability to do the job being planted with each passing interview. Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt asked Banner point blank, “Why didn’t you guys hire me last year?’’ Banner responded, that he didn’t think Whisenhunt was assembling a championship coaching staff. Whisenhunt angrily responded, “Who are you to tell me what makes up a championship coaching staff?”
With Haslam become more and more skeptical about Banner’s football acumen, their relationship became even icier when Greg Schiano entered the fray as a candidate for the Browns job. After glowing recommendations of Schiano from the likes of Bill Belichick and Urban Meyer, Haslam was intrigued. As for Banner, he wanted no part of Schiano and he made it quite clear that he wanted no part of Schiano.
Bill Belichick and Urban Meyer were strong in recommendations for fired Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano—Belichick called twice—and here’s where I hear there was a major rift in the organization. Banner wanted nothing to do with Schiano. Haslam was intrigued with him after the over-the-top recommendation from Belichick. The group flew to Tampa to interview Schiano, and one source said Banner was cold to Schiano, not participating much in the interview. Banner likely thought Schiano would be a disastrous hire, given all the negatives in recent Cleveland history. He was probably right, but the owner was open to it, and when the owner’s open to it, the man running football operations should at least consider it.
Haslam told King that “there was no one crowning blow’’ that made him decide to fire Banner and Lombardi, but Haslam’s skepticism along with the “major rift” between himself and Banner looks to be the reason he pulled the trigger.