Jim Nantz loves him some Michael Lombardi, and he wants you to know it. Nantz went on Cleveland radio with the Bull and Fox show (audio available here) and delievered a lengthy, objective tirade against those criticizing the move.
“The fans, with all great respect . . ., they don’t really know what they are talking about with this hire . . .,” Nantz began. Then followed with:
"“I will declare it up front, he is friend of mine, but I think I’m totally objective on this. I’ve been around the NFL for twenty-eight years. There’s only two people I’ve ever met in the NFL who stand, like, at a different level above the rest, when you sit in a room with them and talk football, and that would be Bill Belichick, and that would be Michael Lombardi.”"
It’s an at times bizarre rant, because he seems to blame media members and websites (who have apparently been critical of Lombardi) for the Browns not being good, as if they were complicit in the Browns organizational decisions in the past.
Nantz rails against the rumors and backstabbing and politics of the NFL, then lets you know that Michael Lombardi had nothing to do with the JaMarcus Russell pick in Oakland. He also talked about how Belichick says that Lombardi is the best at personnel evaluation.
Interviewer: “Jim, how come he never got hired in New England?”
Nantz: “Well, that, I mean, that’s a fan question right there.”
Nantz also tries to smack down those who thought Heckert did a good job. “Let’s talk about it. Why didn’t he take Russell Wilson instead of Brandon Weeden?”
Why didn’t he take Russell Wilson instead of Brandon Weeden? Well, we don’t know, and one thing that we also do not know is what Tom Heckert thought of Wilson’s chances to compete with Tarvaris Jackson, or whether Heckert would have benched Wilson this year. We do know where Lombardi stood on that.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]