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Lombardi presser not revealing

July 31, 2013 - Mike McLain
CLEVELAND -- Browns general manager Mike Lombardi gave about nine minutes of his time to answers questions of the media Wednesday, but not much was learned.

Lombardi clearly isn't a fan of the media. He tried to make nice with reporters at his introductory press conference last January, but since then he's remained virtually silent at the direction of CEO Joe Banner. Wednesday's presser was just the second one he's done at the team's facility since January.

Lombardi was asked a variety of questions, giving generic answers to most of them. He expressed a belief that receiver Josh Gordon is on track for a good year, despite the fact he's been suspended the first two games for failing a drug test for the banned substance codeine.

"The injury stuff, coach Chud (Rob Chudzinski) talks about that,” Lombardi said. “There are always bumps and bruises you have to get over. I’m excited to see Josh’s development. He’s shown this offseason a great attitude. I think he has to demonstrate what he’s done and continue on. He wants to be a good player.”

Lombardi was also asked about quarterback Brandon Weeden, who will get a chance to start a second straight season after a sub-par rookie year in 2012. Lombardi has no loyalties towards Weeden or any of the many players on the roster that he didn't add through the draft, free agency or trades.

“Everybody that practices football has good and bad days,” Lombardi said. “It’s a learning experience. I think he’s clearly proven in the offseason that he’s gotten better in everything he was asked to do. Every day he’s gotten better, and that’s what a lot of players have done.”

Lombardi was asked to compare where the Browns are now compared to AFC North rivals Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore. Strangely, he said he couldn't make a comparison because he hasn't seen the other teams.

It's that type of elusive answer that makes Lombardi a difficult figure for fans to like. As of now he doesn't seem to care.

By MIKE McLAIN Tribune Chronicle CLEVELAND – There was a rare appearance before the media by Browns general manager Mike Lombardi Wednesday, which for him is like a trip to the dentist. During a nine-minute press conference at the outset of practice, Lombardi was a master at avoiding specifics. The most anyone learned is his feeling that quarterback Brandon Weeden has “clearly gotten better.” It was Lombardi’s first press conference at the team’s Berea facility since before the NFL draft. After parading owner Jimmy Haslam, CEO Joe Banner and president Alec Scheiner in front of the media, apparently it was Lombardi’s turn. The way Banner has kept Lombardi hidden from the media didn’t make sense at the NFL combine in February, and it doesn’t make sense today. Banner’s belief is that Lombardi is such a polarizing figure here because of his association with the Browns that moved to Baltimore after the 1995 season that it’s better to keep him hidden behind sunglasses and a sun visor. There’s absolutely no logic to that thinking. All it does is further incense his many critics, driving a wedge between the two sides that will grow deeper no matter how the team performs. If the Browns continue their losing ways, Lombardi will retreat farther into his bunker as the inevitable barrage of criticism increases. If they win, he could become insufferable in his smug attitude, figuring he doesn’t have to give the media anything now that all is going well. One topic that follows Lombardi is receiver Josh Gordon, who’s been suspended the first two games of the season after testing positive for the banned substance codeine. As an analyst with the “NFL Network” last year, Lombardi was critical of the Browns’ decision to yield a second-round pick this year to win Gordon’s services in a supplemental draft. Lombardi has since said he believes in Gordon’s abilities, which are considerable when properly motivated. Gordon is currently on the sideline, suffering from patellar tendinitis. Like many of the players on the roster, Weeden wasn’t brought in by Lombardi. Unable to land a high-caliber quarterback in the draft, Lombardi cut ties with Colt McCoy and Thad Lewis and signed free agents Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer. Lombardi’s eyes undoubtedly are watching Weeden’s every move in training camp. When not tracking Weeden, Lombardi probably studies the elite quarterbacks available in next year’s draft. Lombardi used the draft as a chance to make trades to load up on picks next year. They selected LSU linebacker Barkevious Mingo sixth overall and didn’t have another pick until selecting cornerback Leon McFadden in the third round. They made deals with Pittsburgh and Indianapolis to get third- and fourth-round picks in 2014, finishing the draft with just five choices. Mingo was part of a concerted effort to upgrade the defense. Lombardi also added linebacker Paul Kruger and Quentin Groves, defensive end Desmond Bryant and cornerback Chris Owens. There’s still more work to do to lessen the gap between the Browns and the other three teams in the AFC North Division. “Joe talks about it all the time,” Lombardi said. “You’re never fulfilled and accomplished. You’re trying to lay a foundation and build a structure for success. It’s an on-going process. It’s not about just one day; it’s about every day.”


Article Comments



Aug-01-13 11:50 AM

So, refusing to "speculate" on other teams in the division is being elusive? I would call it not taking a wild arse guess...aka a WAG. C'mon Mike, stop showing your personal dislike for Lombardi.


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