Cleveland GM gets suspended for texting
CLEVELAND— The NFL sent a tough message to Browns general manager Ray Farmer for texting.
However, the league didn't delete any of Cleveland's precious draft picks.
Farmer has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season for sending text messages to the sideline during games last season. The league announced its punishment on Monday, ending an investigation that hung over the franchise during yet another turbulent offseason and threatened to undermine the Browns' upcoming draft.
Farmer acknowledged sending the messages weeks ago. The league said his ban begins on midnight of the Sunday preceding the Browns' first regular-season game and will end immediately after the fourth regular-season game. Farmer cannot be involved in any club matters and is prohibited from being at the team's offices, practice facility or games, the league said.
"I respect the league's decision and understand that there are consequences for my actions," Farmer said in a statement released by the Browns. "Accountability is integral to what we are trying to build and as a leader I need to set the right example. I made a mistake and apologize to (owner) Jimmy Haslam, (coach) Mike Pettine, our entire organization and our fans for the ramifications. Learning is a big part of who I am and I will certainly be better from this situation."
The Browns were also fined $250,000, but that's pocket change considering what they could have lost.
Cleveland has 10 picks in the upcoming draft, including two in the first round (Nos. 12 and 19) and six of the first 115. The Browns, who went 7-9 last season, could be positioning themselves to make a run at one of the top quarterbacks, and losing any assets would not only have weakened their bargaining power, but prevented a team with several holes from adding young talent.
FALCONS: Atlanta was fined $350,000, will forfeit a fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft and team president Rich McKay was suspended from the powerful competition committee by the NFL for violating the league’s crowd noise rules.
Also, longtime director of event marketing, Roddy White, was terminated by the team.
“The Atlanta Falcons have acknowledged the use of pre-recorded crowd noise in violation of NFL rules during home games throughout the 2013 season and into the 2014 season until the club was notified last November that the violation had been identified,” said Troy Vincent, the NFL’s senior vice president of football operations in a statement. “The rule states that ‘at no point during the game can artificial crowd noise or amplified crowd noise be played in the stadium.’ ”
RAVENS: Quarterback Matt Schaub is expected to visit the Ravens early this week, according to NFL sources.
Schaub, 33, has also drawn strong interest from the Atlanta Falcons. The Dallas Cowboys and Tennessee Titans have also expressed interest.
The Ravens have been looking for a candidate to back up starter Joe Flacco. They have 2014 sixth-round NFL draft pick Keith Wenning under contract, but would ideally like to have an experienced veteran in place behind Flacco.