Originally Posted by THE BURG22
What about the GM from Cleveland? Heard they aren't keeping him, he's done a great job with the drafts, I would take him
BEREA, Ohio -- Browns General Manager Tom Heckert, at times sounding almost resigned to being gone, indicated Friday that losing final say over the roster could be a deal-breaker for him and will be a key issue in postseason talks with owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner.
"I'm not going to lie," Heckert said in an informal chat with the media. "It's important. It's why I came here. I've said it before, everywhere I've been I've kind of been the personnel guy even though I didn't have final say. I'm not saying it's an end-all, but it's very important to me."
Heckert, who has two years left on his five-year deal, currently has final say written into his contract. But Banner, in an interview with The Plain Dealer
last month, said he prefers the coach to have that authority, like Andy Reid does in Philadelphia. He also said he'd consider letting the GM have it if he were extremely talented.
Would Heckert remain if he were stripped of that power?
"I don't know, that's something I'd have to discuss with the powers that be," he said.
He stressed that being able to shape the roster is why he left his GM post in Philadelphia in 2010 -- where he worked under Banner -- to take this job.
"For me, it's the who picks the players and who makes the trades, all of that stuff," he said. "That's the stuff that I think is important."
Heckert said both he and Pat Shurmur have no idea if they'll be back, and that they haven't asked.
"That's the honest truth, and Pat's the same way," he said. "I think it's the right thing to do do. Just wait wait 'til the season's out. I can handle two weeks."
He said he anticipates hearing something not long after the season finale in Pittsburgh Dec. 30.
"We haven't been told exactly when, but I'd think right away," he said.
Heckert, who said he and Banner get along fine, actually hesitated for a moment when asked if he'd like to return.
"Uh . . you know what? Yeah, I do," he said. "There's a lot of things I'm sure we're going to sit down and talk about after the season. But right now, of course, I really enjoy the city and I really enjoy this team and so that would be the ideal situation."
Heckert, whose young team has rallied to win five of its past eight heading into Sunday's home finale against the Redskins, would most likely be in high demand if he leaves. He's stocked the Browns with exciting young talent such as Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson, Josh Gordon, Greg Little, Joe Haden, T.J. Ward, Jabaal Sheard and Phil Taylor.
"If things don't work out, I'm pretty confident that I'm going to get a shot somewhere else," he said. "I hope that's the case. If I was like, 'Oh no, what am I going to do?' then maybe (it would be harder), but I'm not that."
He acknowledged that it would be disappointing not to finish what he started, especially considering the Browns appear on the verge of becoming contenders in the AFC North next season.
"But I do get it," he said. "It's just one of those things. I think there's a variety of reasons why that could happen, but I'm OK with that. I don't know how else to react. If it doesn't work out, I can't just sit around and pout about it, I've got to go try to do it somewhere else."
He chuckled when asked about the unofficial "save Heckert campaign" started by fans and some media members. Conversely, there's been a backlash against reports that Banner will replace Heckert with former Browns personnel executive Mike Lombardi.
"I get teased about it a lot upstairs, but what can I say?" Heckert said.
"Just being out and about, a lot of people come up and it's great. I appreciate it. I guess it's kind of funny. I don't know if it's the lesser of two evils?
That's what it seems like if we're comparing me to people. I don't know Mike (Lombardi) at all. It's just crazy. The positive part with me is fine. I don't know why the other stuff (the anti-Lombardi sentiment) is going on."
He said he doesn't think too much about all the Lombardi reports from national media members such as Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports and Pro Football Weekly's Hub Arkush.
"It is what it is," said Heckert. "That happens all the time."
He said he hasn't asked Haslam or Banner if the reports are true "because I'm going to find out here in two weeks anyway." He also said he and his agent Bob LaMonte haven't put out feelers to other teams yet. "No, all of that stuff will take place after the season," he said.
Asked if the Browns should retain both him and Shurmur to keep the train rolling, he laughed and said "Yes! . . Anytime you make changes it's going to affect some things. I'm not saying you have to start all over, but it's not going to be just smooth, it's just not. I guess that's the only way I can answer it. Apparently if they do it, they think it's OK."
He declined to say if he'd stay if Shurmur were fired.
"I don't even want to go down that road," he said. "We'll see what happens."
He acknowledged that this has been a dream job for him because his dad, Tom, was a scout for the Browns in the 1980s and Heckert became hooked.
"There's no question about it," he said. "I was around when the fans were crazy and that'd be awesome to be back. Our fans are great now, but it was different because we were winning. The fans have been phenomenal. Just from our games, I can tell they kinda see where it's going. They should be happy. Eventually they're going to see this team's going to be pretty good."
Heckert says Weeden "has everything you want" and that Richardson is everything they hoped he'd be. He said the team is poised to take off and that the staff isn't surprised by the current run. "We thought we'd make the playoffs (this year)," he said.
Heckert said if he leaves, he hopes Banner retains a lot of the people Heckert hired.
"They'd be crazy not to keep them," Heckert said. "This scouting staff is phenomenal. We have some great, great people working in this building.
Obviously without those guys, it doesn't mean anything. That's the hardest part. If things don't work out, it changes people's lives."