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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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I think it's damn brilliant.

Posted by: IMAWriter | January 24, 2014 at 12:21 AM

I've seen you make intelligent posts. That's not one of them.

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: William Oliver | January 24, 2014 at 12:10 AM

If anyone could take the Phins lower than Ross has it would be you, BIll.

I'll bet Ross was convinced that firing Ireland was going to get him all kinds of love from the fans, spike his popularity and start to repair the image of his organization.

Uhhhhhh, nope.

He's probably a nice man, but he's so far out over the skis as an NFL owner it's ridiculous and the way Aponte and Philibin have manipulated him makes him look like a feeble, pathetic old man.

Sorry dude, but the way you're running an NFL team is the way a schmuck does it. The team's consistent lack of success and all those empty seats on Sundays should be enough of a clue.

WC, I RESPECTFULLY disagree...regarding THIS post, but totally agree on your assessment of my prior postings. LOL
Thanks, bud.
I think we're all so, so HURT that OUR beloved Dolphins have become a pariah.
I'm way older than most here, and you'd think I'd just give a she-it any more.
Unfortunately, I bleed just all my brothers and sisters here.

Farmer was probably given some promises by the new regime. It sounded like he was unsure from the start. Nevertheless the Fins are a mess. Only way to fix this is hire a guy already. Hope that he has a good draft and offseason and the team shows improvement or blow everybody out next year, including Aponte

Sorry, I meant NOT give a she-it.

So they fire FIRELAND, dawdle for weeks, and then they hire/promote FIRELAND's apprentice?!? Brilliant!

What's wrong with this franchise?

#1 It's the owner

#2 It's the owner

#3 It's the owner

And if had to reach for another answer...

#4 It's the owner

Posted by: XpensiveWino | January 24, 2014 at 12:27 AM

I agree with all you posted but for one. "He's probably a nice man." Nice men don't become billionaires. Verstehen sie?

Why is everyone scared of a chick with a dcik?

I'm way older than most here, and you'd think I'd just give a she-it any more.
Unfortunately, I bleed just all my brothers and sisters here.

Posted by: IMAWriter | January 24, 2014 at 12:27 AM

Just turned 60 and can't believe I'm putting up with what was once THE premier organization in all of sports, not just NFL.

G, what! You mean it's NOT the fault of the media, G.W. Bush, or global warming?
I have to agree, it's certainly much to do with the owner. However, he didn't coach those last 2 horrific games.
I still believe there is another factor we DON'T know. I hypothesized it's the upcoming BULLY-GATE conclusions. Who knows if Goodell, in all his self-righteousness, doesn't take away a first round draft choice as a PC way of kowtowing to certain pressure groups?

WC, I should have KNOWN you were nearing elder-statesmanship, as your further response to me was gentlemanly. LOL. Instead of the usual reaming I get around here.

Ah, the rocking of the OB every time Zonk scored. Dems were the days.

Turning in. A pleasure with chat and read tonight.
Maybe we'll all be surprised, hopefully a good surprise.

We're NOT Close..... stop living in dolphin dream land, the dolphins have not done and won anything in over 40 years. Shula and Marino were overall failures and piled up a bunch of wins on a very weak AFC east for years. Your team has not won a road divisional round playoff game in over 43 years, take the binders off already.
Premier NFL organizations...Patriots, Packers, 49ers, Steelers, Broncos the dolphins are not premier in their own division let alone all of sports.

61 here. When i try to explain to my tween great/grand nephews that Fins were once Top-notch org, thry look at me like I'm speaking Martian, & then laugh uproariously.

It's going to be Gaine. Ireland was sacrificed because everybody hated him--he was a prick.

Ireland got the coaches what they wanted. He had idiot coaches. What he did not have was likability.

I think Gaine had the job from the get go. All the interviews were just a pipe dream from 'Der Fehrer'.

One thing i notice with you dolphins fans that ever ends, many of you guys only live in the past, half the fans now were not even born in 1972 and don't care or even know who Bob Griese or Larry Csonka was. I realize the early 70's were the teams best however the past is gone and not coming back, time for a serious reality check. It's even worst than the Jets fans living off January 12, 1969 (Super Bowl 3. Move on already. Hehehe

Posted by: Dolphins Truth | January 24, 2014 at 12:44 AM

Awake enough to see what a POS posting yours was.
You say "Shula and maino were overall failures?" I should stop right there. Trolling?
Dolphins beat the Colts. with Manning in 2000, so your '40 years" is such BS. Dumb BS at that.
The 49'ers were nothing after Young retired, the Steelers had some bad years after Bradshaw (one Super Bowl appearance with Neil O'Donell). The Packers had over a decade of mediocrity. And all the while the Dolphins had the best cumulative record in the NFL.

Go back to the Jets website, if they'll take you.

Are you naked under that barrel? I liked the Red what's his name Coach who made the huddle a hAnd holding experience.

Your internets should reach Colorado, where they probably have Bronco sites. I think.

We're NOT Close..... stop living in dolphin dream land

Posted by: Dolphins Truth | January 24, 2014 at 12:44 AM

Easy boy. "We're Close" is pure sarcasm. Got it?

61 here. When i try to explain to my tween great/grand nephews that Fins were once Top-notch org, thry look at me like I'm speaking Martian, & then laugh uproariously.

Posted by: Emo | January 24, 2014 at 12:46 AM


Posted by: Broncos Fan In Miami | January 24, 2014 at 12:55 AM

Broncos fans now like Pats fans. Forget the years after Elway. How convenient.
I hope Peyton has a great game, as I want the loudmouth Seahawks to lose.
That said, maybe YOU should take a peek back to when the Raiders regularly kicked the Bronco's asses.
The revisionist history of Elway makes me puke. The guy lost horribly in the big game till his running back bailed him out. Marino had no such player.

Right now, ALL the Dolphins have is the past. However, I bet you not a day goes by when an older browns fan doesn't utter the name of Jimmy Brown. Or the Raiders fans wishing Ken Stabler was back.

Enjoy your 2 years. When Peyton' retires after next season, you folks will be "looking backward."
Life's a bee-atch, huh?

Broncos Fan In Miami


This is Marco just like San Francisco Fan in Miami. Ignore him.

Y'all keep pulling me back. LOL
I have teenage daughters, and regularly host my own pity party.

Even with all this talk regarding the future GM, I still can;t get out of my mind those dreadful last 2 games against the Bills and Jests.
How could a team that looked so focused and watching each other's backs tank so horribly? OK, the Bills had been playing ,500 ball the last 6 games, have a tough home field, and crappy weather. Stuff happens.
But the Jets, at home?

Of course, those 2 games were symptomatic of the previous dozen, where the Fins couldn't get a TD in the last quarter. Not ALL pif that can be about Sherman. The defense also played spotty, YES, in part due to the offensive ineptitude.
Those last 2 games have all the symptoms of a divided team, not a close one.

A conundrum.

So what if the new breed of Dolphan were not alive for the perfect season. They have a team to support that they care about that has a rich heritage.

I would suggest to you, that if you wish your statements to be perceived as credible, to learn to punctuate properly and use correct verb tense.

Those last 2 games have all the symptoms of a divided team, not a close one.

Posted by: IMAWriter | January 24, 2014 at 01:19 AM

I had serious doubts about Philbin & Co after pre-season. The three opening wins had me hopeful but as I told friends, they looked like smoke and mirrors to me. Then the obvious lack of in-game adjustments was losing me throughout the season. The final two games sealed it for me. Philbin sucks.

Sam GM, at least "Bronco fan" spelled Csonka correctly. LOL
We're grown men, up late, chatting about crap we can do NOTHING about.
Yep, football fans.
Hello, I must be going.
In 10 more minutes. LOL
Don't want to miss all the fun.

WC, to regurgitate an earlier comment once more, I believe the Bully gate thing is going to make SOMEONE look bad. I believe THAT'S why Ireland is gone. If not, why did it take weeks to get him out of there?
I also think Philbin has lost control of the locker room. I believe barry Jackson commented that several Fin players have not so subtly mentioned that joe doesn't exactly have Pete Carroll gene, certainly not the Belicheat gene.

As was also mentioned, Philbin didn't call plays, which we knew (though sadly, maybe Ross didn't), and was actually more of a (???) O-Line coach! Sound familiar?

Ross' hiring of Philbin may end up as bad as Jerry Jones coaching hires, including their current HC.

Posted by: IMAWriter | January 24, 2014 at 01:10 AM

It is useless to speak to this person of history, heritage, and loyalty. I doubt that the Broncos will be his team any farther than their rainbow reaches.

Agree Sam. As cogent a comment as his is not.
I bid you and all goodnight.

Has anyone placed a call to Scott pioli? If gaine worked with Ireland then the free agent and drafting will remain poor. Maybe Ross should postpone travel until this situation is fixed. Only team without talent evaluators at senior bowl sets us up for another draft day debacle.

Dolphins beat the Colts. with Manning in 2000, so your '40 years" is such BS. Dumb BS at that.

Posted by: IMAWriter | January 24, 2014 at 01:01 AM

Thank you for proving my point about the ignorance of many dolphin fans, this was a HOME WILD CARD GAME not a road divisional playoff game moron. ROFLAMO
Elway was and has always been a champion unlike that baby maker with his lover with the grumpy attitude who always choked in the postseason.
Last i saw it was 62-7, opps Jax just scored again!

Posted by: Broncos Fan In Miami | January 24, 2014 at 02:00 AM

Marco, just because you occasionally post civil, semi-intelligent posts doesn't mean you are worthy of respect here. Go away, loser.

Well Broncos fan..
According to the Legion Of Boom Broncos midget receiver's won't catch a ball.
Only WR they have to worry about is #88 and he drops balls.


The theory of defense wins championships wil be tested.

Peterson's KC teams won a total of 3 playoff games in 20 years and made it to the AFC Championship game once even with 3 seasons where the team went 13-3. In Peterson's first 7 season with KC the team made the playoffs 6 times winning only 3 games (2 of which were the same season of the AFC Championship game - 1993). In the subsequent 13 seasons the club only made the playoffs 3 times losing each time. It can be argued the early "success" in the first 7 years was attributed to players selected by the previous GM. Carl Peterson is no football guru, just Ross' buddy. Let's be clear, the stench starts at the very top. THE DOLPHINS WILL NEVER BE WORTH JACK SQUAT AS LONG AS ROSS OWNS THE TEAM. PERIOD!!!!!

Does Aponte have pictures of Ross with the goat??

Get rid of Philbin n Aponte!!!!!!

So it's Gaine as the interm GM this season till we fire Philbin and Aponte and get some real candidates come interview.

Mando, you can't jump on Farmer for not wanting this job. And NO, I don't believe the Dolphins were truthful with him during the first interview, or didn't get into the specifics of his job. Ross isn't hiring a "real" GM, its more of a glorified talent scout. Any idiot can put together a draft board, but it takes talent to know talent and to know what this team needs to get better. With Dawnhoe looking over his shoulder and protecting Philbin at the same time can't be called a good working environment.
Well, the cat is out of the bag, and Im not surprised or shocked at all. This is so typical Ross the real-estate magnate. Ross is a stumbling fool when it comes to the NFL, and Peterson who portrays himself as an NFL insider is as foolish. Have the Dolphins ever denied these reports?

Farmer waffled his way out of the Dolphins GM position. This is good news! Could you imagin this goof in the war room trying to select a player to draft? We already have Ross the waffle king of Miami. The last thing this team needs is a GM that is not aware of what he is getting himself into. Did he not ask any questions during the first interview? It makes more sense that he just used the interview to make himself look more valuable. This is not the end of the world for us . If the Dolphins had this guy as a top prospect then it's time to reevaluate what they are trying to do. If Ross can't get the right guy for the job then maybe he should consider giving Philbin the responsibilities and if next year it all falls apart he can clean house and start the cycle over again.

Am I the only one here not at all concerned about the loss of Farmer? There may be slim pickins out there right now, but why source from the bottom of the barrel?

I have a feeling Brian Gaine may have been the guy all along. Maybe Mando can do a little digging for us and shed some light on him.

We still haven't hit rock bottom. This franchise that I love is in shambles, and it will be in shambles, I fear, as long as Stephen Ross owns the team. The best thing that could happen would be for Ross to sell the team. It could lead to a new owner fixing the team; it could lead to a new owner moving the Dolphins out of S. FLA., which I don't want. Anything would be better than this!

Here is where I see the potential structure problem. You are the GM. You want to sign a free agent player. Who makes that move? Dawn? She controls the money. If she doesn't agree, does she not make an offer, or low balls to keep the player away? This type of situation certainly further weakens what your GM is doing. Maybe Farmer just didn't like Dawn Aponte and decided he couldn't work with her.

Further, how does this compare to other GM searches? I have no idea personally. Is it typical for some to decline to interview, etc. or are we just blowing this up for nothing?

Farmer or not, its all just more negativity surrounding this organization. Ross has stepped in crap since he set foot in Miami. It seems every major decision he has made - with his "respected advisor" Peterson, and his wealth of NFL experience & wisdom by his side - has turned to manure. Dolphins dysfunction has become the norm.
Wayne Huizenga started the plight when he sold the franchise' soul to the devil - Jimmie Johnson. We've been a seedy, disrespected, undignified, poorly perceived vagabond amidst NFL circles ever since - sans the FLUKE year Brady fell down. And the FATuna was right there with the best of the worst we've trotted out since JJ destroyed the legacy Shula built - one fluke year & then what? Our tremendous big name hires (JJ, Saban, Parcells) all STUNK & all QUIT. Their successes elsewhere weren't enough to help keep them upright in Miami. They all contributed mightily to the joke we have become. This organization rotted from the inside out. I feel sorry for today's players, and those that toiled amidst the mess these past 15 years. Its been a house of underhanded horror since the day JJ arrived & its perpetuated today. The logo joke was a good thing - it shows us exactly what we never imagined happening to the Miami Dolphins - the Dolphins are dead! Please sell the team Mr. Ross. You are not an NFL owner. And with every move you make it just gets worse & worse & worse...never in my wildest nightmares could I have envisioned this future for my Dolphins.


Cleveland, oh no what a slap to want to stay in Cleveland! Well I have no idea why anyone would want to stay in Cleveland. All due respect but Cleveland for many years now has been even more dysfunctional than the Dolphins. Could it be questions about the organization. Perhaps but could it be that the franchise QB who has been anointed is questionable in the candidates eyes. Maybe but most likely not. Well then again perhaps that's it......How can any franchise be more dysfunctional than the Cleveland Browns. More than anything personnel people would want to see a franchise QB in place. Yes a real one, not a hope he makes it with hard work this off season type of guy. There is no certainty about T-hill other than the Dolphins are going to give him a shot to keep his job. How do real personnel men around the league feel about that? That's not being written about because no one will go on record with that kind of opinion.

Die Hard Fins Fan and I Hate To Say This But WHO CARES ??? Does it really matter who we get?? I have been a Fins fan since birth dog's name is Marino the whole nine yards, and I have had it. We have been all but a joke since Marino left. Nothing surprises me any more. What real GM would want to come here. The entire coaching staff is in place and they have no say in who they will be working with, that is all decided for them. Sounds real appetizing!! Done venting.. WTF




Could it be that Ross is toying with the idea of moving the franchise ever since he bought the Fins? He is a very cunny investor, not dumb by any means ( unless he wants to be portrayed that way) and has followed a step-by-step procedure of PR, personnel and decision-making mischiefs that defy probability statistics. No, this cannot happen merely by chance alone...

Here is a thought...hire all three remaining candidates. Since it appears decisions will be split between Philbin, Aponte, and the GM (scout), just hire Hickey and Lake, team them up Gaine. The two new hires along with Gaine can form an alligence and undermine Aponte and Philbin. They can invite Philbin and Aponte into the war room and then have a rock, paper, sisscor contest to see who they will take with the 19th pick. For the second pick they can shoot dice over a card board box down on state road 84 and US 1. For the following pick they could do shots of tequilla. Last one standing makes the pick and day one of the draft is over!

Hell, who knows. These moves past and present could go from sheer idiocy by Ross(doubtful) to a carefully designed plan to keep the Miami Dolphins mired in mediocrity(for $ purposes) to relocating the Franchise to another City. We don't know yet which of the above it really is but we'll find out.

How does a real evaluator of talent like Farmer feel about T-hill. If he is told that the Dolphins have a franchise QB in T-hill and this real evaluator of talent does not think so what happens....what happened is that no other franchise can be considered to be more dysfunctional than Cleveland, not even Miami. So why would the reason be dysfunctional franchise. Perhaps there is something else that this very good evaluator of talent sees!

Posted by: promichael | January 24, 2014 at 05:57 AM

The new GM would have serious doubts over Philbin and Thill. How can you be interviewed by the owner with the coach in the room ? I have heard that this was the case, if true its pathetic.

The GM should have power over all the hires except his own. He is the guy to steer the ship and point it in the right direction, if any of the crew step out of line he has the authority to keep them in line.

There is no structure when you have three people on an equal pegging. DawnJoe and the new GM all with separate but equal power does not work. If the coaching and play calling is poor the GM will have serious issues with it then he will want to question the coach on his performance correct ? Who else is qualified to do this.... it certainly isn't Stephen Ross.

As for Dawn, she has former such a close relationship with Philbin based on self interest and preservation. Philbin has so many question marks hanging over him such as lack of leadership and terrible play calling that cost us games.

The owner is not capable of taking his coach to task, but the GM would be and if have little or no control over the management of the HC then you are tied to a shinking ship with no chance to save yourself.

No GM has given Philbin his 100% backing.

The Game is up, Mister. Would you want another Scandal? We could oblige you.

Broncos Fan In Miami


This is Marco just like San Francisco Fan in Miami. Ignore him.

Posted by: We're Close | January 24, 2014 at 01:16 AM

Wrong again my friend.

Agreed,its been Gaines job all along. What a mess this once great franchise is.

Posted by: promichael | January 24, 2014 at 06:40 AM

I would say that most of the candidates have doubts over Thill too. If Ross is stating that Philbin has all the power over who stays and who plays, then all the GM is, is a scout for Philbin and a postal service for Dawn.

In the scenario he really wants a FA that Philbin feel he will have a personality clash with, despite talent then there will be problems. If the GM wants to sign say Albert from the Chiefs and Dawn says too expensive then, clash. In these situations DawnJoe goes into over drive and begins to whisper to Ross about the disruption the new boy is making, pathetic.

The Structure that is in place is the one that made Ireland leave, he was not fired ! Hiring Gaine is ironic, because we have nothing to Gaine by making him Gm, he is already here in the building, we should be after new blood to take us to the next level.

least we aint the browns or raiders

Please write with better syntax, or shorter. Your long commentaries are being hard to understand.

Speculation? Speculation?

Guess what, who cares? If a future employee has projected that there will be future trouble then there will be future trouble. Reject.

Just find a guy that can draft and the get the coach what he needs to win. That is called teamwork.

However, if Philbin is too thickheaded to understand that he might have to adapt his game plans to the personnel he has, then Philbin is the person with the problem. In the case of Ireland, he just could not get a line together to develop a running game. Or was it that Philbin couldn't coach the players that he had because of the nepotism that existed and still exists today.

So Farmer sees this and in his head says, Philbin things this is going to go his way. It doesn't matter who I think (Farmer) should be drafted or signed, Philbin is in a position to make me look stupid.

And if I can only get him joe blow for the line and not the second coming he will A: not play him, B: not coach him, or C: leave the guy hanging out to dry.

That scenario leaves the front office in a state of limbo. Seems to me Philbin wants to be GM.

There is trouble in Dolphin land.

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