There is no denying, the Cleveland Browns have been a laughing-stock in the NFL for years. Even decades. But their latest front office hire should show that they are trying to put their ugly past behind them. It was recently announced the Browns and owner Jimmy Haslam have hired former MLB GM Paul Depodesta as their Executive VP/Chief Strategy Officer.

(NY Daily News)
(NY Daily News)

Paul DePodesta used to be Billy Beane’s right hand man in Oakland, then he was the GM of the Los Angeles Dodgers and, most recently, he was the vice president of player development and scouting for the New York Mets.

The Browns have been getting hammered for hiring a so-called “baseball-mind” to run their front office, but DePodesta is much more than that. The Harvard alum not only played baseball, but starred on the football team during his time at the university. He got his start in sports with the Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League, and also spent time working for the AHL (American Hockey League). Working in football and hockey did not stop him from being successful in MLB, if anything, his knowledge only increased from those stops along the way.

“We are fortunate to bring in Paul, an extremely talented, highly respected sports executive who will add a critical dimension to our front office,” said Haslam. “His approach and ambition to find the best pathways for organizational success transcend one specific sport and his experience as a high level sports executive make him a terrific addition to the Cleveland Browns.

“Paul has invaluable experience in management and leadership with a number of highly successful sports teams,” said Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown. “His ability to create better processes and systems throughout organizations, his use of data as a tool to produce better outcomes, and his relentless focus on looking for innovative ways to create more success will be a strong asset as we look to be as comprehensive as possible in our decision-making.

“Additionally, Paul will help members of our player development, high performance and analytics departments maximize their efforts. There are many areas that we have not fully capitalized on that will enhance the growth and performance of our players over time.”

So DePodesta will be doing much more than deciding which players will end up on the Browns 53-man roster. Having a brilliant sports mind in the front office is never a bad thing and Cleveland is finally beginning to figure that out. DePodesta also knows how to work with difficult bosses, Frank McCourt, the Wilpons and now Haslam.

The Browns also know they need to find a head coach and a football mind as GM. Jimmy Haslam also added, “While we are excited about what Paul will provide our organization, we remain fully focused on the critical task of identifying the right head coach and a top talent evaluator who will provide the football expertise needed to be successful.”

Yes, the Browns are a poorly run organization and have not delivered on the football field, but the DePodesto hire is the change of culture they needed in Cleveland. Give him a couple of years, and Browns fans will be rejoicing this “baseball mind”.

 

 

 

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