The rumor mill is working 24/7 in Cleveland, where information and disinformation are cranked out on a steady basis
Soon there will be reports that Alabama coach Nick Saban has bought a house in Strongsville next to Bill Cowher and that former NFL executive Mike Lombardi was seen at a downtown restaurant having lunch with Browns president Joe Banner.
It wouldn't be normal if there were no rumors. It's what keeps fans going at this time of the season, along with some eggnog.
Things are really heating up this year because of new ownership. It's assumed that owner Jimmy Haslam III will make plenty of changes, including with the head coach and possibly the general manager.
It can't be a comfortable way for coach Pat Shurmur to go about business each week. He must have one eye on the game plan and another eye on his back.
To Shurmur's credit, he's been able to keep the players on track. The Browns are playing their best football in three seasons, led by a youthful brigade made up of the largest cast of rookies in the NFL.
"Listen, I'm not worried about any of that," Shurmur replied when asked about the rumors. "I don't control that. I'm worried about doing my job and that's it."
The most sensitive subject deals with general manager Tom Heckert's future. Speculation persists that Banner wants to remove Heckert and bring in Lombardi, who hasn't had a front-office job since being fired by the late Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders in 2007.
The mere mention of Lombardi's name strikes a nerve with reporters and a large portion of the fan base. He spent nine seasons with the Browns (1987-95), serving first as director of pro personnel and then as director of player personnel. In the latter role he worked closely with former coach Bill Belichick.
Lombardi didn't make many friends inside or outside the organization during his stay in Cleveland. When the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996, owner Art Modell had seen enough of Lombardi and didn't take him along on the move east.
Banner's relationship with Lombardi goes back to a two-year stint Lombardi had with the Philadelphia Eagles in the late 1990s, when Banner was president of the Eagles. Hence, the belief that Banner wants to bring Lombardi back to Cleveland.
That would be a public relations disaster for several reasons, most notably because the majority of fans want Heckert to stay. They see the progress Heckert has made through the draft, including a major haul this year that has paid immediate results. Heckert has not only hit on many draft choices, but he added receiver Josh Gordon through a supplemental draft and added undrafted rookies Tashaun Gipson, Johnson Bademosi and L.J. Fort, along with second-year free agent Craig Robertson.
Haslam has obviously made plenty of good decisions since assuming the reins of Pilot Flying J from his father and turning it into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. If he's done all his homework on Lombardi and then still hires him, you'd have to be concerned about his ability to make the right calls in a business he has yet to master.
Saban is an entirely different matter. He has the college football world in his hands. Another national title at Alabama would further solidify him as the college game's greatest coach.
Haslam, who's a big financial contributor to the University of Tennessee, admires what Saban has been able to accomplish. Whatever short list Haslam would have for coach assuming Shurmur is gone will include Saban.
If Saban has an interest, he'd have to decide between the security of staying at Alabama and being assured of winning seasons every year and conquering the NFL, where he failed in a two-year stint with the Miami Dolphins.
They might eventually erect a statue of Saban next to Bear Bryant if he would stay at Alabama. Then again, giving the NFL another try might blot out the one blemish on his record.
It will make for some interesting conjecture in the coming months, which is the way it's supposed to be in Cleveland.