« GM finalist Ray Farmer may not interview ... or may | Main | Dolphins interviewing Nick Caserio today »

Humiliation: Browns say Farmer not interviewing second time

So let me get this straight ... The assistant general manager for the Cleveland Browns is informed he is a finalist for the general manager job with the Miami Dolphins and after getting through an initial interview that reportedly went well, he declines to take the second interview because he has doubts about the Dolphins' football structure?

Can this really be?

Is the Dolphins' reputation around the NFL so soiled that even people working for the Browns -- the Browns! -- don't want more money, more power, and a chance to run the Dolphins front office?

Somebody wake me, because this is a nightmare.

Let's retrace some footsteps because if this is, in fact, what's going on, we've already stepped in something foul.

Farmer interviewed for the Dolphins job January 11 and I reported the interview was very good. Obviously, it turns out, the interview did go well because a couple of days ago the Dolphins decided Farmer would be one of their finalists interviewing this weekend for a chance to become the successor to Jeff Ireland.

But a not-funny thing happened on the way to that prized finalist interview. Farmer began to have second thoughts. As I reported Thursday, Farmer started to waiver about whether or not he wanted to interview again with the Dolphins because he was feeling uncertain or uncomfortable with the Dolphins football structure.

Farmer talked to the Dolphins for at least five hours in that first interview. He came to that interview with the blessing of former boss Carl Peterson, who hired Farmer during his time with the Chiefs and is now the top advisor to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross on this GM search. And after answering a bunch of questions and presumably asking some of his own, Farmer was still not sure he either understood or liked the Miami structure?

That's not all.

Was Farmer's concern so profound that even when the Fritz Pollard Alliance strongly recommended he take the follow-up interview so he could get his clarification, Farmer still declined?

Well, that's apparently exactly what happened as on Thursday afternoon, Cleveland Browns CEO Joe Banner told a group of huddled reporters that Farmer was staying with the Browns rather than interview again with the Dolphins, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Quentin Tarrantino at the height of a drug-induced inspiration could not make this stuff up.

So I have questions that frankly make me wonder about both Farmer and the Dolphins.

1. To Farmer, if you were still uncertain or uncomfortable with the Dolphins structure at the end of that initial interview, why didn't you say so then? Did this discomfort or uncertainty suddenly dawn on you or did you find out new things about the Dolphins in the days following the interview?

2. To Farmer, you worked under Peterson for years. Obviously Peterson thinks very highly you. So if you were uncertain or uncomfortable about the Dolphins structure, couldn't you just call Peterson and ask for clarity? Why the big public unveiling of this issue that makes neither the Dolphins nor you look good?

3. To the Dolphins, is the phrase, "Do you have any questions for us? Are you completely comfortable with where we are right now?" foreign? After all, that kind of covers everything. If Farmer felt any degree of discomfort near the end of his interview, that phrase would have definitely opened the door to the airing of that discomfort.

4. To the Dolphins, how could you not know Farmer had issues with your structure?

5. To the Dolphins, did you interview a candidate and then anoint him a finalist without any clue he doesn't think highly of what you are proposing as the job structure?

6. To the Dolphins, aren't you starting to get a clue that something is seriously wrong with, well, you? Look, when one candidate declines to interview, that's understandable. When two candidates decide your interview offer is not for them, that's kind of worrisome but not terribly. But four candidates declined to take even initial interviews with you and a fifth man, who was open minded enough to take the initial interview, decided that familiarity with you was a reason to stay away in the future.

It's not them, my dear Dolphins franchise, it's you!

It's not the media with an agenda. It's not tough luck. It's not the competition conspiring against you. It is you!

Now, for the sake of full disclosure, Dolphins sources insist it is not them. (On a couple of counts, such as the initial and incorrect Jason Licht story about him being offered the job and this evening's CYA suggestion by one national reporter that Lake Dawson didn't become a finalist until after Farmer had second thoughts, it is indeed the media).

The message I get from the Dolphins is that every candidate is made aware he will be reporting directly to owner Stephen Ross. Every candidate is aware he will not be under either coach Joe Philbin or executive vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte. Every candidate is aware he also will definitely not be over Philbin and probably not Aponte as well. Both Aponte and Philbin will answer to Ross.

Aponte, I am told, has no secret sinister plans to take over as undercover GM.

So where is the misunderstanding?

Are the Dolphins not relaying that message clearly? Is there a communication disconnect? Is the team, through sources, saying one thing to me and then another to candidates? I don't know for sure. I'm not in the interviews.

(Maybe the Dolphins should embed me this weekend for their own well being -- like the military embeds war correspondents. It protects them.). 

All I know is this is not the first humiliation the Dolphins suffer lately. It's starting to get really, really old when the Dave Wannstedt disaster is the good old days.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

again I ask:

who is interviewing who?

Dolphins are in charge not Farmer...

the dolphins ask the questions.

Before a second interview is scheduled with anyone, you would think that those morons would ask the candidate if he is interested in the job. If he isn't you don't offer a second interview.

Don't Panic

Well the browns did hire a new coach and maybe the new coach and the organization convinced farmer to stay?

How many times can you have sand kicked in your face before you fight back Steven Ross? This is the Miami Dolphins, not the Cleveland Browns you idiot. Ray Farmer rejects us like he's Al Davis or something. Well, that is unacceptable. Get your head in the game and Do what is necessary to fix this mess or SELL THE TEAM.

Just shut up, Armando. It's because of your (and the local Miami media) pathetic dribble that detracts from the Dolphins organization and it's fans. Who would want to come here?

if Farmer had questions or issues about the Dolphins structure, why didnt HE just ask them to clarify?--Fins have issues, fine, but starting to wonder about Farmer (no, beyond "starting")

Ray Farmer not interested? Who gives a crap. What about the Cleveland Browns screams "strong personnel decisions"? They are THE worst franchise in professional sports. And Carl Peterson loved him? When was King Carl ever loved or respected by the KC Chiefs? Farmer deciding to turn down a better job with more money and more power shows what kind of decisions he would've made for this organization... $H!TTY ones! Screw you farmer and enjoy things back in America's garbage can, Cleveland, OH. We don't want you or need you.

Dear Mr. Ross, the league is now laughing at you. Look at the people around you, they are not the answer to your problems. You built good will with last years signings, you lost it with the seasons last two games. Maybe it's time to rethink the structure and get some NFL people who aren't interested in bringing in people they are familiar with.

Yeah, Mando all your fault. If you were a better writer, reporter, head coach, quarterback, CEO and GM for the Dolphins we wouldn't be in this mess.

Also if you weren't secretly Aponte in disguise things would be great.

Never in a million years did I think the Dolphins would be a bigger laughing stock WITHOUT Ireland, then with him.

It's not a misunderstanding Mando, it's mistrust. Again, repeating my previous posts, the NFL is a tight nit group. Word gets around. Wouldn't be a bit surprised if Farmer and others reached to current and former NFL front office staffs to get good gouge on Ross, Philbin and the lot.

Perception is reality so what does it say about the Dolphins. My how we have fallen. Sad, I'm not even angry anymore. I'm embarrassed and ashamed of this franchise.

uh Phil, Farmer has only been with the Browns for 1 season (this year)……not much to do with their personnel decisions

Can't blame the media for this bag of doodoo. If Carl Peterson's hand-picked candidate turns us down, what does that tell you? At some point you have to look in the mirror and accept the fact that the problem might be you. Looks like Gaine is going to be the man. Let's pray he was a genius stuck behind Ireland.

So now I'm reading that gaine, hickey, are the only two finalists now that farmer has dropped out? Is lake Dawson still in play? Who can confirm any of this information? Please do...

The answers to these questions lie within Armando's own (excellent) reporting. The problem is Aponte. She formed an alliance with Philbin to protect her own job, then backstabbed Ireland at the end of the season. She is a corporate climber who knows how to network her way to the top, and she seems to understand the salary cap (as any competent accountant could), but what the hell does she know about football? As a potential GM, I would not even consider working in an office with her, given how things played out between her and Ireland. Would she be secretly undermining your decisions to Ross? Would she conspire with Philbin to get rid of you if things go bad on the field and someone needs to be held accountable?
Philbin is not exactly the brightest guy in the world, and I think he is being used by Aponte. The only solution to this problem (i.e. the only way to get a top flight GM) is to get rid of her, and give a GM total autonomy over the personnel and coachin hires. For all of Ross's business acumen, his downfall seems to be his unwillingness to be objective when personal relationships interfere.

Bring back Bill Parcells, pay him big, and let him make the deciions = Playoffs again

honestly, who cares what any of this "tells you/us"?--actually, what does it really tell us?--what fan walks around bragging "our organizational structure is sound and crystal clear"?…..or, "cant beat our organizational structure…..its the best"--hire one of these B list candidates and move on, hope for the best…..which we wouldve been doing if Farmer was our GM anyway

nobody wants to work with Failbin, Aponte, and Ross.

Maybe during the interview Ross asked Farmer about his mother's occupation.

So the football people all report to the non-football owner? What are we, the Dallas friggin cowboys?

Fake GM Mando should interview to see what the process is like

"humiliation"…..please, enough with the drama…..do we really think alot of fans of other teams really think or care this much about the Dolphins GM search?…..are really "following it closely"?--what humiliation?--outside of a handful of knucklehead columnists whose articles are often not even accurate, who do we really think is so closely riveted to all of this?--not one of my friends (several Jets fans) have even mentioned this, asked about it, or probably even know we're looking for a GM--nobody cares that much, Dolphins or not…..

Farmer made a smart decision not to join the dysfunctional dolphins.

You are on point Austin, but the fact is Aponte is not going anywhere. Ross will hire Gaine and then claim that he was the man they wanted. Tuna was the one who hired Aponte. Don't give Ross any ideas. We are now at Rock Bottom...I hope.

Benz, come clean you are Dawn Aponte, aren't you? Because only she could possibly defend this utter ridiculousness.

I thought we had already bottomed out w/Fail Forward Fast, Dez, Harbaugh, Cogs/JM, Tebow Day, Bills/Jets debacles, etc, etc.
But getting turned down by a mid -level employee of.... the frigging Browns..... sheessh!

yes I am scourt…..you are so smart, saw right through me…..who is defending this?--just saying much of this doesnt matter outside of Dolphin fan circles, not nearly as much as "humiliation" implies, thats all…..and thats a fact

Benz, It matters because the rest of the league thinks we are a joke. Jets fans won't say boo because they want us to continue to be the butt of jokes. We're not talking a job at a Robbie concession stand selling flavored ice, we're talking about a GM position with an NFL team. For these folks to decline first and second interviews, what does that tell you?

To consider another point, what is the common denominator with the people Ross currently has running the organizatio?n The best that could be said about Philbin by Ross is that he was impressed with Philbin's organizational skills. And he loves Aponte because she is really good with the salary cap. He cannot separate the business side of things from the football side of things. Really organized guys don't typically make the best football coaches. They make good quality control coaches, or may be good, say, at getting you into the statistically optimal play during a game. And accountants are, well, good at accounting, but not necessarily qualified to make personnel decisions. The fact that Aponte's name was even brought up in connection with the GM job should strike fear into the heart of any Dolphins fan and call into question Ross's senility.

been a Fin fan for decades……and I could care less about whether Farmer withdraws or not…..dont care, doubt it matters much, and KNOW that alot of fans around the league dont even know we're looking for a GM……SB is in a week, focus is on bigger stuff than this….."humiliation" implies people are aware of the situation, and care about it…..aint the case, sorry to inform you.

No Brain…..what does "the rest of the league" even mean?--and how is that some big factor in all of this, honestly?--hire a GM, hope he's good, hope he drafts some solid players, and things change…..before that happens, much of this is nonsense…..AND, if you really think "the rest of the league" is worrying too much about this, or losing sleep, or cares that much, you're kidding yourself

Dulphins 1-15 next season!

It matters to FAs & Agents.
You may not like him, but ask Ryan Clarke & a buncha others who were turned off by FO Follies.

I am rhe candidate my friends. I do not drink beer often but when I do, I drink Dos XX.

Benz, When Dawn Aponte is drinking "Boat Drinks" at the Combine in a couple of weeks I guarantee you that you will care.

Isn't Farmer the candidate who didn't want to interview in the first place because he didn't understand the structure? Wasn't he originally talked into taking the first interview by the Fritz Pollard Alliance? Why would any team want someone in the GM position who is so indecisive. I think Farmer is using the Dolphins as a scape goat!

right Emo…..thats why Wallace and Grimes and Gibson and Keller signed here, all good players…..why Wake and Jones extended last year…..gimme a break--and agents would sell their mothers if they could make a buck

To the question on misunderstanding...

Perhaps nobody trusts the Dolphins to follow through? Maybe all the leaked whatever about "DawnJoe" is enough to make them think "This ain't worth it"?

I mean, it's one thing to take an interview with reservations...you could have them assuaged while you are there, and come away feeling like you'd be a good fit with the organization.

Of course, option B is such that you go interview, take reservations with you, and come away feeling no better about the doubts you had prior.

The Dolphins better not hope it's "B", because I'm not sure how the hell you solve that kind of problem.

This is really humiliating! No one wants the job! LOL

I wont No Brain, believe me……you can all wring your hands about it if you want…..hire Dawson or Gaine, or Hickey…..all seem comparable, give or take….and hope it goes well--thats the best I got, and also why none of this recent stuff concerns me that much--hire one of these dudes, and move on…..

Its a done deal Gaine, the acting GM, and only man that wants the job. SAD!!!!

Thinking about Ross' tenure, I can only think of two things he did right: firing Sparano and Ireland. And I'd put an asterisk on that because he fired them 1-2 years too late. Even on the business side, he failed with the celebrity ownership and the stadium renovation. Too many bad decisions has cost this franchise dearly. He's made this place so toxic that top talents the likes of Harbaugh, Fisher, Manning and now Farmer wont come near. He should just sell the team already before he makes more bad decisions.

I hope we get lucky and he is a football genius, because if not this is only going to get worse.

58…..did you just include Farmer as a "top talent" in the same sentence (ie. "on par with") as Harbaugh, Fisher and Manning?…..

The Ross ownership is just one disaster after another.

This is really, the best case scenario. Just promote Gaines, make next season do or die for everyone. If it fails ( most likely ), then you fire everyone, top to bottom, and start over.

It would be wise to hire a president of football operations ( Dan Marion ) who could see how things operate in Davie for a season, have a season to also settle in to the position and have time to plan/prepare/research what the franchise needs under the next regime, and have full control of hiring and firing.

But as we have seen, Ross isn't wise or savy when it comes to operating an NFL Franchise

Gaine would be the easiest to fire after 1 year…..nothing like a little flexibility

Everyone knows Ross is looking for a puppet because of his stubbornness about starting from scratch.
The NFL is full of intelligent people so even though finding a puppet who is willing to get paid well to be a gofer may be easy, finding one that is also willing to get humiliated quite often within a few months of being hired only to never find another job in the NFL is quite difficult.
The obvious choice here is in-house kiss-ass Gaine...

Well, at this point it is probably best to just promote Gaines and see what happens. If the Dullfins flop again in 2014, then everyone goes (Philbum, Adumbe, and everyone remotely connected to the old Dullfins.)

With the schedule the Dullfins have coming up in 14, it will be brutal. They will definitely pick in the top 5 in the '15 draft.

I never thought that in my lifetime I'd see this kind of dysfunction going on with the Dullfins. It is embarrassing.

This is what all you people wanted a new GM! Tomorrow is Friday your unemployment checks will be there.

Jason Cole's report that the persons interviewing for the GM position were confused about the structure of the front office appear to be spot on. The GM prospects said the Dolphins were tight lipped on the structure. Probably all of the individuals asked about the structure and were not given a clear answer.

The Dolphins are problem. That means it is Ross, Aponte and Philbin. Those three along with Ireland and the other coaches caused 2013 to be a collapse and joke of a season.

The Dolphins need to stop this nonsense and hire a real GM to build the team even if it means that DawnJoe is shown the exit door.

The Dolphins are a team with deep problems with front office personnel, coaching staff and players.

I thought Ireland leaving would help, but the rise of DawnJoe is a cautionary tale to beware of what one wishes for...

Count me in the get rid of Aponte camp. The idea that she has equal power to the GM and head coach is beyond stupid. No legitimate GM would want to enter a situation where he holds 1/3 of the power while the other 2/3rds have already formed an alliance.

What the hell does Dawn Aponte know about putting a winning football team on the field anyhow?

Philbin aint lasting more than a year if they dont make the playoffs, or have a winning record at least…..so enough with DawnJoe…..Philbin is in a tenuous position too…..unless he has 9 or 10 wins, the dude is gone--book it.

Before everyone panics about the Farmer rejection, consider that the announcement was made by the Browns CEO, rather than by Farmer himself. That says to me that the most likely scenario is that Farmer went back to his management and said, "here's what you need to do if you want to keep me--if you agree, you can announce that I'm staying." That's not a rejection of the Dolphins per se--that's hardball negotiation by a desirable employee.

No Brain.....good job! It says it all when you don't ask the intended if he's interested in the job before committing yourself!

No real GM would retain Philbin.

Dan....it is a rejection of the Dolphins because the Browns can't offer even half what Farmer would have been in line for as GM. Unless, of course, their using Walmart hourly wage as a guide!

Ray Farmer not interested? Who gives a crap. What about the Cleveland Browns screams "strong personnel decisions"? They are THE worst franchise in professional sports. And Carl Peterson loved him? When was King Carl ever loved or respected by the KC Chiefs? Farmer deciding to turn down a better job with more money and more power shows what kind of decisions he would've made for this organization... $H!TTY ones! Screw you farmer and enjoy things back in America's garbage can, Cleveland, OH. We don't want you or need you.

Posted by: Phil M | January 23, 2014 at 10:11 PM


Phins are scrapping the bottom of the barrel people, trying to sucker ANYBODY into taking this job.

When someone from "the worst team in pro sports" as you called them, that is like 60 red flags getting thrown in the air at the same time.

Wake the hell up. The team is a friggin substandard disgrace. Everyone in the NFL knows it & that Ross is a dumbkoff.

More people have declined interviews than have interviewed. THAT IS BAD! When you consider, more power, better title more pay.

Even scrubs from the lowly Browns would rather stay lower on the totem pole than to ascend in Miami.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 »

The comments to this entry are closed.