Joe Banner just finished a spot on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning. During the spot Banner talked about the trade of Trent Richardson, all but confirmed they made the trade to draft a QB and made some interesting comments that relate to the power structure of the Browns. He reiterated some of the same things he said at the trade’s press conference about the unique situation with the Colts being a playoff contender and needing a RB so they couldn’t wait to make the trade. He was asked about Mike Holmgren’s comments about the trade and was able to subtly jab The Big Show by inferring that Holmgren ran the show for 3 years but now its his turn to turn it around.
When asked by Mike Golic, inferring the reason they made the trade was to draft a QB, how the trade would effect the other quarterbacks on the team Banner said the QBs have a shot to change their mind. He noted how great it would be if they have their quarterback on the roster now and instead can use all of their assets to bring in talent around the QB instead of using them to draft the next QB.
The most telling part of the interview though related to “GM” Mike Lombardi. The quotations are necessary when you hear the way Banner described the trade process with the Colts. He stated though the trade conversations started on Tuesday that it felt like it took awhile because he talked to the Colts GM Ryan Grigson often going back and forth. He then talked about HC Rob Chudzinski being in the loop, stating after he got off the phone he went down and filled “Chud” in on where things stood. He also stated that they were all in agreement from the owner, himself and the coach. In most roster moves these things are handled by the GM. While in big moves like this the CEO/President would be involved, generally these are GM responsibilities. That Banner brought up Chudzinski and how he kept the coach involved, without being prompted, also shows how little Lombardi was connected to this trade.
For some this is a relief. Many Clevelanders do not have good feelings or thoughts towards the current GM. For others this will bring up concern as Banner, not a “football guy,” has brought all power into his office and is not allowing the GM to do his job. Minimally at least he has made the head coach a part of the decision making process, but the interview was confirmation of Lombardi’s role in Cleveland, for better or worse.