- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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After less than two months with the Browns, Mike Lombardi is getting a title change as well as a right-hand man.
The Browns announced Lombardi will become the team's general manager and Ray Farmer has been hired as the assistant general manager. When Lombardi was hired on Jan. 18, he was introduced as the vice president of player personnel.
At one point, Lombardi and Farmer were both considered leading candidates to head the personnel department. Now, they're both with the Browns.
"Ray is highly regarded in league circles as an outstanding evaluator of talent,” Browns CEO Joe Banner said in a statement. “We had the opportunity to meet with Ray in our initial search for a general manager and came away extremely impressed. I have known Ray since he played with us in Philadelphia, and I am familiar with the type of person he is, his work ethic and his knowledge of the game. We are very fortunate that we were able to add someone of Ray’s caliber to our personnel staff.”
In his role, Farmer will work closely with Lombardi, where he will help manage both the pro and college scouting departments. Farmer joins the Browns after spending the previous seven seasons (2006-12) as the Chiefs’ director of pro personnel.
Not sure why the Browns didn't name Lombardi as GM six weeks ago. The change in title seems like a simple administrative move and not a change in responsibilities.
When the Browns hired Lombardi in January, the brain trust of Banner, Lombardi and coach Rob Chudzinski wouldn't say who had the final say in football matters.
"We're going to have a group that is now rounded out and that's going to collaborate on these decisions," Banner said in January. "We're going to try to drive toward a consensus. We probably won't do things about which we don't have a consensus. So we really won't ever get into who has final say."
UPDATE: Banner told Cleveland reporters that "there's no change in Mike Lombardi's role." He said it was done so Farmer could get the title of assistant general manager.