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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.


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What's next year going to be called? Pissin' for Winston?

I have a hankering for pizza. A nice big, xtra cheesy, pizza pie, with pepperoni and mushies. mmmmmmm....I say fok the Dullfins and lets have a pizza party.


"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."

Im sure no reasonably sane dolfan could disagree with this statement. Wannstadt only ran Ricky into the ground. Ross is doing the same with this franchise.

Every single top notch candidate declined to interview & stay in lesser roles where they are. FACT

They'd rather make less money & have less control than have both & have to work for the lowly fins. Miami is interviewing mostly unknown, untested & unproven 2nd tier candidates. FACT

Even they don't want the job! Can't get much lower than this!

Unbelievable, Mando!!
I wonder if Stephen Ross even knows, cares, or ever heard the name Joe Robbie?
It's been such a love hate relationship for almost 15 years now.
Get Dawn Aponte out of the team's way. She can crunch the numbers but nobody should be reporting anything to her.

Let's see, about a half dozen top GM prospects avoid getting paid more money and having a very rare job opportunity because the Dolphins are very tip-lipped about their structure. It seems the Dolphins say one thing in public about the GM structure but in private are not delivering the same message.

It's possible Ross only put out the public version of the GM job as a PR stunt. If true, this would be Aponte's doing as she excels at such things; after all, after paying off Cogs assault victim, she then had Cogs do a PR video for the team.

DawnJoe is making Ireland look better every day.

all B list candidates to begin with…..but that hasnt changed, with or without Farmer (another, uh, B list candidate)--hire one, hope he's good, and move on…..sounds like the same position we've been in for a week or two

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.

Posted by: benz | January 23, 2014 at 11:05 PM

With Ross controlling the "POWER SWITCHES" how can you be so sure of this? I could so see Ross keeping Philbin if he wins at least 5gms.

They'll blame it on the roster hasn't been completely purged of Ireland rejects and Ross would go for it.

The Miami Dolphins:

"Buying top shelf liquor for Diime pieces, but going home with drunk, busted Sixes since 2004"

banners flying over stadiums…..ads/billboards demanding his dismissal…..blogs/boards blowing up for several years, begging for him to be fired…..so Ireland's gone, and this situation is all it takes for several here to want him back, or think he looked good after all?--really?

Yeah, those that say Philbin is out if he doesn't make the playoffs may not be right. Philbin could be back if they are last in the division again.

Good point.

1. Farmer is a moron.

2. I want a coach who is PASSIONATE. Week after week Philbin looks like he is running for the courtesy award. SCREAM. Throw your headset on the floor. ACT like you care.

3. I wanted Ireland gone. But for Aponte and Philbin to form a team. Can you get more unprofessional.

4. Peterson. Why is he even involved? You dont have a huge stake in the TEAM, shutup.

5. Seriously fire them all. Start new. OBVIOUSLY this even reports to Ross crap aint flying. Either is the fix half the problem stupidity.

Ireland didn't look good as GM, but DawnJoe can easily be worse as the new leaders of this sorry team.

It takes three things to be successful in this world: intelligence, hard work, and luck. Ross is an anomoly because he did it with only the last two. We're screwed.

no Sam…..he wont last if he doesnt improve on his first 2 years…..he wont--so I'm just saying that this new "DawnJoe" gig that many are putting out there is sort of a joke…..Philbins a coach, in a position to get fired (easily, after 7-9 and 8-8)--he's not an exec or in some secure position of power…..has no long term standing….he's a coach, easiest to replace

The Browns job is more prestigious than the Dullfins job. How sad....

It's not a misunderstanding Mando, it's mistrust.

Posted by: J T SANDER | January 23, 2014 at 10:17 PM

Spot on, JT. Word gets around and everyone knows that Ross is a clown.

Ryan has survived in NY so why cannot Philbin survive even if he keeps losing? Miami is just as much of a joke as the Jets. Even worse since they could not beat the Jets in the last game.

Feel like throwing up

GMs and exec positions get more rope, bottom line…..thats just the way it is…..GMs dont (or rarely) get fired after a year or two, unless circumstances are unusual….in fact, many are given too much time, benefit of the doubt (re: Ireland)-coaches are replaced often, much more easily….if Philbin's record regresses next year, what case would he have to be retained?

The problem is Aponte. She is a corporate climber who knows how to network her way to the top

Posted by: austin | January 23, 2014 at 10:24 PM

"network"? She flies all over the globe with Dumbo Ross. She "networks" on her knees.

"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."

Given everything that has happened over the past several years, the Dolphins do not have ANY credibility left. The problem is Ross, Aponte and Philbin. The problem is the Dolphins - Armando is right.

Sigh….seriously?--you're comparing Ryan and Philbin?--dude, Ryan has survived because he's won 4 playoff games (or more?) and taken the Jets to TWO AFC title games recently……no, Dolphins are a MUCH bigger joke than the Jets…..Jets have won recently, alot…..how do you not realize this?

everybody agrees that Ryan did a great job this year, getting a thin Jets roster with an awful rookie QB to 8 wins…..

Screw farmer he sucks anyway x

Ross doesn't seem to know much more about football than a hardcore fan, why does he think this structure is healthy or reasonable?

Hire a GM to take charge and then let them answer to Ross alone. What they're doing here is unorthodox and judging by the reactions by potential GM candidates, it's also a potentially toxic structure.

Admit defeat, stop punishing the fans, and sell the team.

been a Fin fan for decades……and I could care less about whether Farmer withdraws or not

Posted by: benz | January 23, 2014 at 10:37 PM

Doesn't sound like much of a fan. Not one that cares about the future of the team.

I think Rossy bossy should change the name from Miami Dolphins to the Miami Mahi. That would truly make them a fish, and cooked one at that. I think they are pretty much done. It will take a miracle to right that sinking ship.

Like it or not, we will have 2015 1st overall pick.

WINSTON will refuse to play for us. A guy allegedly accused of rape.


I realize the Ryan has won. But his past two years have been below par overall.

My point is that given the way the Dolphins do business that it would not shock me to see Philbin go 7-9 or even 6-10 and still be given one more season. Anything can happen.

Farmer did us a favor now we can hire brian Gaines who was trained br parcels

We are the miami dolphins

hire Dawson or Gaine, or Hickey…..all seem comparable, give or take

Posted by: benz | January 23, 2014 at 10:48 PM

Wow. Sounds like know-nothing-about-football Ross.

0-16 in 2014. After all of this, I guarantee the team has pretty much quit before the season begins.

I mean, would any of you want to play for this outfit?

oohh, you're killing me Close…..ouch

We fired mediocrity(Ireland) and replaced him with mayhem.

hey Close…..those ARE the finalists, dude…..wake up….one of them most likely WILL be the GM…..doesnt matter how it "sounds", or whether you or I like it (or know much about it)--one of them WILL be the GM…..its not complicated, so deal with it

What a mess! Youknow when ypu really stop to think about it, its hard to actually the structure. Everyone reports to Ross. But who has final say? Ross? Lets say the GM wants a player but Aponte says hes too expensive. Who gets final say? Ross? Or Philbin wants a certain player but the GM wants somebody different. Who wins? It's a joke! It'll never work in million years.

And you guys that think Philbinneeds to win or he'll be gone, I think you're kidding yourself. Philbin is safe barring a completely failed season. And Aponte is sage too. And thats all part of the problem. What GM wants to walk into a situation like that? Ross will be loyal to Aponte and Philbin. Thats how he works. Thats how he was with Ireland. No GM worth his salt would want to wvork under those conditions. And Ross doesn't get it.

we'll disagree Craig…..9 wins or more, or he's gone

ALLSTATE has requested to film their "MAYHEM IS EVERYWHERE" auto insurance commercials at Miami Dolphins Headquarters.

Sigh….wouldnt shock me but would surprise me (there is a difference)…..my point is that those acting like DawnJoe is some long term power couple are misguided, in my opinion…..coaches have to win at some point, or they lose their jobs….execs dont, necessarily, because they dont always have such a direct line in (like Aponte, or other mid level execs)--the results tie directly to the head coach….at some point, he's gotta win or he's out…..DawnJoe aint a long term barrier if they dont win, thats all

0-16 in 2014. After all of this, I guarantee the team has pretty much quit before the season begins.

Posted by: Sam I Am | January 23, 2014 at 11:38 PM

Naaw. Philbin got us to 8-8 with all the BS this season. Five wins at least. And Dumbo Ross won't fire him next year, either.

Brian Gaine! Ok, what is this guys role going to be if someone else gets GM job? Assistant GM? Is he going to be pushed on new GM? Is the new GM going to be able to hire anyone for himself? As GM I'd want to hire my own assistant. Someone I know that would have my back and could without a doubt trust. Gaine's was my competition on obtaining the GM job......

It should be Gaine. He has seen Ireland do what should not be done, and also how to pick acorns.

He has the perfect training to be our new man. Also, he has top knowledge of how this circus is ran. Who else can appease the Ring Master, Fat Lady, and Dumbo?

Gaine's was my competition on obtaining the GM job......

Posted by: jimmy | January 23, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Well said. But Dumbo Ross is too freakin' stupid to know that. Can someone explain to me how he became a billionaire? I know life isn't fair but this is really stretching it, isn't it?

Posted by: Sigh | January 23, 2014 at 11:02 PM

Sigh, maybe not on this occasion, but J. Cole HATES the Dolphins. He's a west coast guy, and even when he worked at the herald, he was clearly ambivalent.
That said, congrats should go to Mando for having already sussed out the situation nearly 2 weeks ago.
I'm going tom put forth one other reason I believe the Fins seem radioactive:
BULLY GATE. The results of the investigation must have been leaked to EVERYONE but Steven Ross and the Dolphin (what's left of) their hierarchy.

it must really be bad, Im REALLY bad. Why e;se would high testosterone guys like Farmer suddenly wimp out? I'm going to guess there is some "gender" issues involved with Martin, and maybe even another player that is being protected.

Much ado about nothing...its Brian Gaine. He's the only one who will accept this arrangement because he already understands it. If the Phins wanted an outsider Philbin would have to go. Gaine apparently has some respect around the league so hire him and get moving on next year.

Gaine apparently has some respect around the league so hire him and get moving on next year.

Posted by: pancanfinfan | January 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Yeah, homers. 2014 is gonna be one for the books!


Have you seen our drafts the past 5 years? Except for a couple of 'acorns',they have been brutal. While we (the fans) may not get our choice, lets see what happens. Someone else's chopped liver may be our saving grace. We have no idea how the finalists would do as GM - maybe Farmer never wanted the job anyway - we cant get in his head. I dont want someone here who isnt invested in Miami anyway. Going back years ago, NE got killed for hiring Bellichick as coach and look where that got them - or better yet, lets be Dallas and have our owner as GM. While I am with most of you and fed up with this mediocrity, lets wait and let it play out, have ourselves a draft and offseason, and see what happens. We could have gotten 'our' guy and it may not have worked out anyway. We had Fireland for years - IMO, it cant get any worse. Here's to hoping our new GM knows how to speak to prospects without insulting their intelligence or better yet, family members.

As questionable as Carl Peterson may have been at times, HE has more cache than any of the guys interviewed thus far.

Make Peterson the GM, thus Ross saves face by saying he finally said "look what's in my own back yard."

He can't be any worse than Ireland, and he has a good relationship (obviously) with Joe Philbin.

I'm also not quite sure what it is about Brain gain that "makes him respected" around the NFL? What has he done, other than stooging for Ireland?

If gain is that attractive a prospect, why has he not SERIOUSLY interviewed for a GM gig?

Gaine, sorry.

lets wait and let it play out, have ourselves a draft and offseason, and see what happens.

Posted by: Dolfan13131313 | January 24, 2014 at 12:05 AM

But you already know what will happen, don't you? Only a homer can't see it.

Ross is having fun. Let him play with his team set till time for his bath.

By the way, Armando is the worst reporter this side of the East Coast. He would be better off writing for the Enquirer. Lover his take on everything that must be true. What a joke.

Make Peterson the GM, thus Ross saves face by saying he finally said "look what's in my own back yard."

Posted by: IMAWriter | January 24, 2014 at 12:06 AM

Funniest thing I've read on here in weeks.

The issue is that NFL guys don't want to work with a woman. Mr. Ross should hire Gaines as GM and Carl Peterson to oversee the whole thing and report to Mr. Ross. We don't need anyone that doesn't want to be here or needs to be convinced to be here. And as the owner Mr. Ross can setup whatever structure he wants to. And yes the negativity from the local press has contributed towards the Dolphins' bad reputation. We certainly don't need a guy that would rather work for the Browns. That makes Ireland look like Joe Thomas.

Posted by: Dolfan13131313 | January 24, 2014 at 12:09 AM
Salguero has been spot on concerning this debacle, and it's probably cause.
BTW, some of the best paid reporters work for the Enquirer.They break more confirmed stories than does the NY Times. CONFIRMED stories.

I think the problem is we are not looking for a real GM we are looking for a glorified scout the decisions cannot be mabe by three people Aponte and Philbin should report to the GM any other way it is not normal way to run a football team
Only an amateur would think that It will be a smooth working relationship
All 3 reporting to Ross - it's just a set up for more problems and there will be lots of them if the GM doesn't rule over the Aponte
Maybe that is what is turning people off,

why would anyone in their right mind want to work in this circus? So the gm position would hold 0 power or authority over the coach? This is Joe freakin Philbin we are talking about not Don Shula right? Give me a break!!! Did anyone ever think you would be pining for the days of Huizenga?

Make Peterson the GM, thus Ross saves face by saying he finally said "look what's in my own back yard."

Posted by: IMAWriter | January 24, 2014 at 12:06 AM

Funniest thing I've read on here in weeks.

Posted by: We're Close | January 24, 2014 at 12:10 AM
Why would that be?
Not one candidate interviewed had the sure fire success tag attached. neither does Peterson, but Ross gets someone he trusts, Aponte is kept in check, Philbin gets ANOTHER FRIEND to baby sit him (with Sherman gone), and the Dolphins have a better than 50% chance to actually get a couple of starters in the draft.

All you folks down on Peterson are only so BECAUSE of his relationship with Ross.
Forget that for a moment, and compare Peterson's accomplishments with say, Irelands?

You all really upset not to get an ex jock from the Browns?
About the only ex-jock that has real GM super-star credentials (remember Matt Millan?) is Ozzie Newsom.

I think it's damn brilliant.

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