Former team president Joe Banner spent 18 years in the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office. When it’s all said and done, he’ll have lasted 19 months as chief executive officer of the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns announced on Tuesday that Banner would “step down” as CEO after the draft in May, likely signaling the club’s tumultuous offseason has not played well with owner Jimmy Haslam.
Banner oversees a front office that fired head coach Rob Chudzinski after just one season on the job. The quick axe for Chud made numerous candidates leery about the vacancy, many of whom pulled their own names out of contention or refused to interview altogether. Some players also saw the move as reactionary.
After a drawn-out, disappointing search, the Browns eventually settled on Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for the head coaching position.
As part of the front-office shakeup, Banner’s hand-picked general manager Michael Lombardi has been fired and replaced by assistant GM Ray Farmer effective immediately.
While Banner often rubbed players, fans and many in the media the wrong way in Philadelphia, he was usually credited for having a major impact on the Eagles’ rise to one of the most successful and profitable franchises in the league.
Banner is said to have been instrumental in the construction of both the NovaCare Complex and Lincoln Financial Field, facilities that made the organization more attractive to players and raised the value of the franchise.
Banner’s expertise with regard to the salary cap also allowed the Eagles to keep many of their good, young players at below-market-value prices while always leaving enough left over to make splashes in free agency.
After watching him flounder in Cleveland though, perhaps Banner was less responsible for the stability of the Birds than previously thought. Would Andy Reid have lasted anywhere near 14 years in Philly if that decision had been left solely up to Banner?
Meanwhile, the Eagles and owner Jeffrey Lurie seem to be doing just fine without Banner. The NovaCare Complex and Lincoln Financial Field have undergone major renovations in the past year, while the product on the field appears to be back on track after hiring Chip Kelly as head coach last offseason.
Kelly, of course, spurned the Browns’ and Banner’s advances last January.
One short year later, the Browns are THE laughingstock of the NFL right now, and it falls on Banner. I thought for sure given his resume in Philadelphia, he would be the right man to turn around that moribund franchise. Instead, Banner seems to have set Cleveland back greatly.
>> Banner Out In Cleveland [Birds 24/7]