Browns Add Eliot Wolf as Assistant GM, Highsmith as Vice President of Player Personnel

The Browns today made some important front office moves official, adding Eliot Wolf Assistant General Manager and Alonzo Highsmith Vice President of Player Personnel.

Wolf spent the past 14 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, most recently as Director of Football Operations, while Highsmith had been with the Packers personnel department for 19 years, the last six as Senior Personnel Executive.

“We’re lucky to add Alonzo and Eliot to our personnel staff,” said Dorsey. “Alonzo’s 25 years of experience in the National Football League as a player, scout and personnel executive give him a unique perspective when it comes to evaluating talent and building a team. Alonzo and I share the same passion for this great game of football. We are going to set out to find talented football players that possess that same passion for the game,” Dorsey said in a statement.

“Eliot has been a fine executive in this league for some time now. It’s been great to watch him grow up around this league when I was with him in Green Bay and from afar for the last five-plus years. He’s been a big reason for the consistent success the Packers have experienced over the last decade. Adding Eliot and Alonzo to our personnel leadership group, that already includes Andrew Berry, will strengthen us and help us develop into the type of personnel department we need to achieve the success our great fans deserve.”

“I’m so thankful for this opportunity and I’m really excited about joining the Cleveland Browns organization,” said Wolf. “I really like the direction of where leadership is headed. We’re going to build this team the right way and to be a part of that from the ground up is going to be special.”

“This is going to be an exciting challenge,” said Highsmith. “It’s great to reunite with John Dorsey. He is someone I’ve looked up to and has always been a mentor to me. We had great success together in Green Bay and we both understand the hard work it takes to create a winning environment. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be part of something special. Some of my fondest memories in football were playing the Browns in the playoffs one year and the fans throwing dog bones at us so we had to turn around and play that series at the opposite end zone. I believe in the Haslams, Coach Jackson and John, and I’m looking forward to helping build the type of team Cleveland Browns fans will be proud of.”

In addition, the Browns have also added Jimmy Noel as Assistant Director of Pro Scouting, Matt Donahoe as Scout and Dan Zegers as Personnel Coordinator. Noel, Donahoe and Zegers all previously spent time in the Kansas City Chiefs personnel department.

Ken Kovash who has served as Vice President-Player Personnel for the last two seasons will transition to a Vice President role in the club’s strategy department.

Browns New GM Dorsey to Interview Packers Director of Football Ops Eliot Wolf

New Browns general manager John Dorsey could be bringing even more of that Packers magic to Cleveland, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Last week, he hired former Green Bay senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith as a vice president in the personnel department. Now, he hopes to add Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf in some capacity.

He’ll interview Wolf on Tuesday, a league source told cleveland.com.

Wolf, the son of Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf who recommended Dorsey to the Jimmy Haslam, was passed over Monday for the Packers GM job when they announced another internal candidate, Brian Gutekunst, as their man.

The Packers offered Wolf “a prominent role” in the organization, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but the GM snub did not sit well with Ron Wolf, who ran the Packers from 1991-2001.

“At least he had the opportunity to interview for it,” the elder Wolf told ESPN Sunday night. “Obviously the people up there don’t think he’s worthy or they would’ve hired him. End of discussion.”

Gutekunst can block Wolf, who’s still under contract with the Packers, from interviewing for any other NFL job except for GM, but it doesn’t sound as if he’ll do so.

“I surely want him to be part of this,” Gutekunst said Monday during his press conference. “I think the world of Eliot Wolf, not only as a scout, but he’s very close to me as a friend. He obviously has other opportunities if he wants them. That’s kind of between me and Eliot, but I’m very hopeful that he’ll be here.”

Despite 0-16 in 2017, Coach Hue Jackson Will Be Back in 2018 Says Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam

Jimmy Haslam has heard all of the criticism about bringing Hue Jackson back with a 1-31 record in his two seasons, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

“I’ll say what I always say: I think we have the best fans in the NFL and when we win, Hue Jackson will be their hero,” said Haslam. “I’m convinced of that. It’s all about winning and losing, and until we start winning we’re going to catch a lot of grief and we deserve it.”

Jackson made his remarks in the hallway outside the locker room here after the Browns lost 28-24 to the Steelers to fall to 0-16.

“I don’t think there’s a lot to say,” he said. “I remember standing approximately here last year and apologizing to our fans for the poor job we have done as owners, and I would just reiterate that again. Our record is unacceptable, and we accept full responsibility for that.

“I don’t think that I need to say, but the way the world works today, I want to say this: Hue Jackson will be back as our coach next year in 2018. He and John (Dorsey) are already off to a good start and working well together. There weren’t a lot of positives today, except we also secured the No. 4 draft pick, so we’re excited to see what John can do with the draft picks we’ve accumulated as well as what we do in free agency.”

Browns OT Joe Thomas Still Not Sure of a Comeback in 2018

Browns left tackle Joe Thomas hasn’t decided yet if he will play next season, Tom Withers of the Associated Press reports.

Thomas suffered a torn triceps on Oct. 22 against Tennessee and underwent season-ending surgery.

“I’m going to sit down with my family and kind of discuss where I am about continuing to play,” he said Thursday as the Browns (0-15) prepared for their season finale in Pittsburgh.

“I think it will come down to really, first and foremost, my health. Do I feel like I’m still playing at an elite level and do I still love it? For me, I feel like when I make that decision, which will be after the season, that is really what it is going to come down to.”

The 33-year-old Thomas said coach Hue Jackson’s future will have no bearing on his future. Thomas has been in Jackson’s corner for some time, and although the Browns are on the verge of a 0-16 season, he hasn’t changed his mind.

UCLA QB Josh Rosen Doesn’t Wanna Play for Browns; Wouldn’t Mind Going to Giants

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen would prefer to play for the Giants over the Browns and would be hesitant to come out in next year’s NFL draft if he knew that Cleveland was going to take him with the No. 1 overall pick, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

This is hardly the first time that a player has expressed concern about landing in Cleveland, though that will not dissuade new Browns general manager John Dorsey from taking the player he believes is the best fit for his franchise.

Privately, Rosen has expressed concern about winding up in Cleveland and would rather be with a more stable franchise, such as the Giants.

Rosen plans to sit down with his parents after the Cactus Bowl for a “serious conversation” before making a final decision about whether to turn pro. Whether Cleveland has the No. 1 overall pick could influence his decision, according to a source.

Report: Gordon Won’t Ask for Deal Out of Cleveland After Season

Receiver Josh Gordon has experienced the thrill of victory only 10 times in his 35 games with the Browns since 2012, but he says he has no plans to ask out after the season, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

“You can ask for a trade whenever you want to really, but that’s not really on my mind, man,” he said Thursday. “I’m just glad to be back.”

Gordon has watched teammates such as Kenny Britt and Joe Haden join winning teams this season in New England and Pittsburgh, respectively, and both are now gearing up for the playoffs, and possibly the Super Bowl.

Gordon, on the other hand, is hoping to be part of the 0-14 Browns’ first victory of the season Sunday in Chicago.

“I’m happy for both of those guys just knowing their careers and their journeys, getting an opportunity to spread their wings, so to speak, get a different look, a different perspective,” Gordon said. “I know Joe was heartbroken having to leave here. Joe’s one of those guys that was brought in 100 percent here, and a lot of us take on this job of being here as a challenge and something that we don’t shy away from.”

He insisted that playing here is “not seen as something that’s holding us back. It’s something as a competitor you want to do. You want to come to Cleveland to change the dynamic, to be one of the people responsible for bringing a winning season, a winning organization to the city.”

New Browns GM John Dorsey Backtracks on Comments About “Real Players”

Browns general manager John Dorsey walked back his comment last week about the previous regime not getting real players, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

“It’s pretty easy,” Dorsey said. “I’m not a professional wordsmith, I’m a football guy, ok? My intent was to say we don’t have enough good football players. There’s some good football players on this team and if I have my way, we’ll get more football (players). We’ll create that competitive depth at every position.”

“That’s what I’m going to do. Are there some good, young football players on this team? You bet there are. But you know what, we’re going to get some more football players on this team and we’re going to get some W’s here too.”

He noted that he wasn’t taking aim at his predecessor, Sashi Brown, who was fired.

“I don’t take shots at past regimes or anything like that,” he said. “I think Sashi’s a good person. I’m going to try to do things the way I think will help this organization move forward, and that’s how I’m going to go about my business. I live in the present and build for the future.”

New Browns GM Dorsey Says He Feels Hue Jackson Will Be Back in 2018

SI.com

Browns general manager John Dorsey referred back to Jimmy Haslam’s declaration that Hue Jackson will back in 2018 and beyond when asked about on Tuesday, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

“Ownership has already spoken on that question,” Dorsey told 92.3 The Fan’s Bull and Fox, a radio partner of the Browns.

Press on what he’d do it if was his choice, Dorsey repeated, “Well, I think ownership has already spoken on that question.”

Several reports have surfaced that Dorsey might advise the Haslams to hire a new coach after the season, including one on profootballtalk.com, and one by Jason LaCanfora on CBS Sports.

When asked if he has a short list just in case, Dorsey said, “That’s one of those questions that’s speculation.”

He made it clear that he’s working well with Jackson and eager to proceed, despite the fact Jackson is 1-29 in his two seasons — the worst start for a coach in NFL history. Like the Haslams, Dorsey believes the talent deficit is to blame for the 0-14 record.

“Hue and I have a really good relationship,” he said. “First off, I think ownership has said that Hue would be back. With that, I’m excited to work with him here. I’ve been really impressed with how Hue messages to the players. I’ve always thought that head coaches should be leader of men, and when I watch Hue talk to the team and how hard guys play for him, that’s exciting.”