CLEVELAND - An old face is joining the Cleveland Browns' new regime. Michael Lombardi, a member of the Browns' front office from 1987-1996, has been hired as the team's Vice President of Player Personnel.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner introduced Lombardi at a news conference Friday morning.
"The most respected people in the business said if If you can get Mike Lombardi to be your general manager, you should hire him immediately," Haslam said.
Haslam highlighted Lombardi's strengths as passion, work drive and football knowledge.
"I used to have a sign in my office at the Oakland Raiders that said 'If you don't like change you're going to like irrelevance even less,'" Lombardi said.
Lombardi was last in the league in 2007, when he served as a Senior Personnel Executive for the Raiders. He has experience working with five NFL teams.
From 1992-1996, Lombardi headed the Browns' personnel department, working under head coach Bill Belichick. In that role he was responsible for pro and college personnel decisions, managing the salary cap, handling player contracts and overseeing a staff of scouts. He also advised Belichick on all football matters.
"It's a great honor and privilege for me to come back," Lombardi said. "When we left in '96 after the team moved, it was heartbreaking for me. I think we've all grown from those days and I know I have."
In Lombardi's time as the Browns Director of Player Personnel, the team compiled a 30-34 record.
Since leaving the league, Lombardi has served as a television analyst for a number of outlets, including CBS Sports and NFL Network, and written for NFL.com.
"The great thing about NFL Network is they afforded me an office at NFL Films where I had the ability to watch football games and watch coaches tape, so I was able to stay in tune to the game," Lombardi said.
Lombardi has been critical of Browns draft picks, such as quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Josh Gordon, in interviews.
"It's a different evaluation from a media perspective than it is from an inside the house," Lombardi said.
Banner has knows Lombardi well from their work together in Philadelphia in 1998. The two have stayed friends over the years.
"[We'd] occasionally both agree about a player everybody else didn't like and he turned out to be good, so we patted ourselves in the back and told each other how brilliant we were and thought we should work together someday," Banner said.
Lombardi joins a slew of new faces in the front office. Wednesday, the Browns announced Sashi Brown as the club's Executive Vice President – General Counsel and Brent Stehlik as Executive Vice President – Chief Revenue Officer.
Alec Scheiner was named the team's president in December. Joe Banner serves as CEO.