CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – An hour after naming Alec Scheiner team president, Cleveland Browns CEO Joe Banner said that he doesn’t plan to waste much time making a few more decisions.
Banner maintained Tuesday night that the fates of general manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur have not been determined but they will soon.
“I think we’ll make the decisions quickly after the season,” Banner said. “I don’t want to say if it’s 1 day or 2 days or 3 days but I think it will be quickly.”
It’s been widely assumed that both will be gone – possibly as soon as Dec. 31, which is known as ‘Black Monday’ in the NFL because the Monday after the regular season finale is typically when coaches and executives are fired.
“We have not made decisions but obviously as time has gone on we’ve thought about it more,” Banner said. “We’ve talked it more [and] more factors that will influence the final decision have become clearer and clearer. I don’t want to make it sound like we’re in the same place we were two or four or six weeks ago. That has advanced quite a bit. But we’re not at the point where we’ve made definitive decisions.”
Should Banner fire Heckert, which is expected, former Browns pro personnel director and NFL executive as well as current NFL analyst Mike Lombardi appears to be the leading candidate to replace him.
Banner declined to talk about the rampant rumors surrounding Lombardi and the Browns.
“Starting to go down the path of speculating on these things is not going to be helpful at this point,” Banner said. “We’re still going to decide at the end of the season on the people that are here and that will lead to whatever the next steps are at that point.”
The evaluation of both continues and what influence on Banner’s decision the final 2 weeks will have remains to be seen.
“Not something new,” Banner said. “But I think continuing to spend time with them and observe things rather than focusing on as you said the criteria that were going to use I think helps you gain confidence that you’re doing the right thing and you’re being objective and you’re looking at it the right way.”
Banner has been focused on setting up the organizational flow chart and putting the right people in place – hence the hiring of Scheiner as president. His work will continue on the front office structure as he decides whether or not Heckert and Shurmur will stay.
“I think that what we’re trying to do is look down the road a couple of years from now and the qualities that will require to make the right decisions, have the right philosophy of building the team, integrate the right people together to add to each other and compliment each other,” Banner said. “And whether we’re putting together a group of people that’s as strong as any in the league, because our goal is initially to improve but eventually to be amongst the better teams in the league.
“We’re only going to achieve that if we’re collectively a group of the best people in the league at what we do.”