NFL Franchise Notes: Banner Keeping Lombardi Out Of Media Spotlight
Browns CEO Joe Banner yesterday admitted that he “doesn't want” GM Michael Lombardi in the media spotlight yet. Banner said Lombardi is "a little bit of a lightning rod." In Cleveland, Mary Kay Cabot notes Banner instead “will address personnel matters for the time being.” Lombardi “hasn't addressed the media" since his title was changed on March 5, and he “didn't appear at press conferences for free agent acquisitions" DE Paul Kruger and DT Desmond Bryant. Banner yesterday said of Lombardi, “Distraction won't serve anybody's interests. He's got a tremendous amount of work to do right now, and whether that's good, bad or fair or not it doesn't really matter. It's just the reality of the situation." Banner added, “He's not going to be hidden. He's not going to be somebody over time you won't have an opportunity to talk to” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/19).
NO CHANGE: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday said that the Redskins “met with the NFL twice in the past 30 days to try to recoup salary cap space the team lost" to a $36M penalty, but efforts were "unsuccessful.” Goodell said, “I’ve told the Redskins directly that there will be no change in the modification to their cap.” In DC, Rich Campbell notes Goodell “would not say whether he ever considered it a possibility that the Redskins would pursue legal action against the league outside of the arbitration process” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/19).
FLYING THE COOP: In Philadelphia, Les Bowen noted some Eagles fans “feel less engaged by the announcement last Friday that the team no longer will hold training camp in the intimate setting” of Lehigh Univ. The four or five “fan events team president Don Smolenski said are planned for Lincoln Financial Field might be available to more fans than Lehigh, but the setting won't be nearly as cozy.” Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie said, "I loved the fan engagement (at Lehigh). With NovaCare being one of the top facilities, teams are really tending toward (holding camp at home). We're really one of the last holdouts” (PHILLY.com, 3/18).