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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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The lowly Fins cant even get a Browns assistant to interview?? WTF??


It like the dolphins are lepers. Everyone is avoiding the Diseased Dolphins.


DC, I see it as a personal problem... same as Martin's. Only so much more severe. If he could hide THAT problem from teammates and friends, why couldn't Martin? And contrast Martin's circumstance: he was carrying on with teammates; was joining them in pranking others; joining them at clubs and strip joints; making fun of himself and others... how could anybody tell that Martin had a problem??? The other guy, though...

We can disagree on Philbin. I'm not completely sold on him. But he is a hell of a sight better than many predecessors. I'm not against giving him some time- particularly after what Ireland did in the draft and free agency.

Posted by: FACT | January 24, 2014 at 11:05 AM


when's the last time you've seen any criticism of Obama on ANY network?? NEVER,

Fox at least is the closest to the truth. Mass is was no coincidence that you lumped in Fox with MSNBC, your either a liar or so indoctrinated you can't even be honest anymore

Mass it was no coincidence*

Ross please, please, do us all a favor sell the team PLEASE!!!!!!You may be a smart business man BUTTTTT You don't know football!!!Period Iam a Dolfan since Shula came from the Colts and what he built your tearing it all down .No NFL ticket for me this coming season.Buy all the left over seats in stadium you want for viewing non blackouts

DC Dolfan,

Question: Why is it Philbin's fault that the 2 ILBers were replaced? Just interested in your thoughts, not asking to raise an argument. Normally, I think that would fall under the GM's responsibilities. Having said that, I believe in Ellerbe. He was awful a lot of the year, but I was starting to see him fly around towards the end of the year.

I also don't hate Coyle the way you guys do. Really think it's a matter of getting the right groceries, but I think your main arguments stems from the ineffectiveness of a highly talented DL, correct?

I'll be completely honest. I've never been more lost as to where the issues should be attributed and have any concept of what I think would be a good move to right the ship. But I do think someone who remains calm, gains the trust of his players, and provides quality game management (which Philbin did at a high level this past year), is a good HC. And I don't believe the hype that players don't respect him-> They were singing his praises when we were 8-6. Winning changes everything and if we can win next year we have a shot.

You mean its not "Our Time?"

Ross, save the Dolphins. SELL THE TEAM!!


Gaines would not be that bad. He already knows Philbin and his philosophy. He also learned the ropes from Ireland and Parcells. Though it is sad that a Cleveland executive does not want to earn more money or advance his career here and favors staying with the lowly and pitiful Browns, we have to move on and hope that everyone in the league is wrong about Ross' plan and structure.

They can also save face by announcing that Gaines is the new hire and that he was the favorite all along. They can say that they were doing their due diligence talking to other candidates but that they love Gaines. Just hire Gaines and end this soap opera!

Is Obama the Jeff Ireland of Presidents or what?

They can also save face by announcing that Gaines is the new hire and that he was the favorite all along. They can say that they were doing their due diligence talking to other candidates but that they love Gaines. Just hire Gaines and end this soap opera!
Posted by: Orlando Dolphan | January 24, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Yeah, they can lie to everyone.


"Adding Brady and Bellichick to the Fins ring of honor when they retire?"


Saving face? This team has lost face so much in the past 15 years that there is no face left to save.

I dropped a turd in the toilet this morning that was better than anything the Dolphins could hire as GM at thispoint.

ETF, ur post at 11:11 is very true. Anyone with a numbers background can see what she did last year in free agency and copy the same things to anyone they sign this year. no need to have someone earning a 7 figure salary and empower them so much - heck could hire someone like me for $150k a year, have them report to the GM and that is that.

read OKelly's and Hyde's columns today on this issue.....a more reasonable, less hysterical, less dramatic, intelligent read--some perspective....imagine that

Apparently the GM job is going to go to Dennis Hickey or Brain Gaine. I personally predicted that Dennis Hickey is our best option & said that Dennis Hickey, Ray Farmer & Brian Gaine would be the 3 finalist. It looks like I was right again! I am totally confident that Brian Gaine will mesh well with Joe Philbin, but I feel that Hickey will too & his past drafts have all been impressive with the exception of drafting the wrong QB in Josh Freeman.

Yeah, they can lie to everyone.
Posted by: Fins are Trash | January 24, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Thats what they've been doing for 6 years.

Fox the most accurate news... I still have not stopped laughing and may never.
I must say, this blog is the most entertaining one I've ever been on. A great mix of all types of personalities and opinions. A great place to vent, battle it out with opposing points of view.
But they are all just opinions (including mine). One of my favorite lines from Roadhouse: "Opinions vary".

Posted by: Tony Sparano | January 24, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Actually Tony,
I would even put Rich Kotite right there with them both for ability and integrity

The NFL should make Ross sell the team if he's gonna cheap out on payroll every year.

It's not so bad. Just fire Aponte, Philbin, and Ross and we'll be fine!

I predict that the Dolphins will be just fine & finally make it to the playoffs next year.


gets hired, Ross will proudly proclaim, with a straight face, was "our man from the start, the man we immediately knew was capable of taking us to the next level"
Don't forget, Ross sells real estate & Snake Oil.

Orlando I think saving face is out the window. There is now way they can keep anyone from this current administration including Ross sitting in as overseer on the football side and gain respect.

There is only two ways they gain respect now.

1. Win in spite of everything and take said respect.

2. Clean out the whole bloody lot and bring someone in to monitor the football side and have that person bring in their own gm, coach, etc.

Having Gaine in there in effect accomplishes the same thing as having Ireland there one more year. It gives everyone one last shot to do something to save their jobs. Doesn't even have to be something big. Come in the top 6 in their conference.

Steve Ross, worst sports owner ever?

again, "humiliated" implies alot of people, outside of Dolphins circles, know much or care about this issue--they dont, or arent losing much sleep over it if they do--most fans probably dont even know we're looking for a GM, or care....I'm sure most NFL execs are busy improving their own teams, worrying about their own jobs/results....they might have a mild interest or opinion about our GM search, but probably not much more (why would they?)-so who are we supposedly "humiliated" in front of?


I heard Ross is gonna fly with the GM candidates to Brazil where they are gonna hook up with some girls and have a proper MEAT-ING

How long before we're screaming, "FIRE GAINE!!!"?

Anyone with an Associates Degree in business from ITT is a qualified Capologist.

Let's see, when was the last time I watched a liberal station criticize Obama:
Just this morning on Morning Joe - they (not just Joe) were criticizing him on the fact his administration is the most secretive ever.
Jon Stewart, who is way too liberal for my tastes but is damn funny - has been highly critical of Obama, many, many times.
McLaughlin Group (on the so called liberal PBS) has conservative guests on everyweek who are very critical of Obama as well as liberal ones who are too.
Those are the only political shows I watch beside CSPAN so that is all I can say.


We no longer need FALSE HOPE of having a good team year after disappointing year.

We're now BOOKED for a BAD SEASON for as long as Ross is owner or until he dies. Do not hope that it will not happen. Expect that it will.

Omar Kelly is asking a really poignant question...


Posted by: MassDolphan | January 24, 2014 at 11:23 AM

liberals deflect, demonize, attack, laugh at conservatives or anyone they disagree with, but never have any facts to back up your ignorance.

Give me one example of Obama being criticized by NBC(run by Jeffrey Emult-GE President, and Obama's Job Czar)ABC, CBS, ESPN(owned by NBC), CNN,MSNBC

Right now, we're not going around the league trying to hire fans. We're going around trying to hire front office people, like a new GM for instance.

It's within the league circle that word has gotten around about the humiliating fiasco of dysfunction the Dolphins have become.

You think this close-nit group is not talking about the Dolphins follies at the Scouting Combine?

Come on!

dont you all get it?--we (Dolphins fans!) are, for the most part, the only ones reading this news/columns--its like we're supposed to be "humiliated" in front of each other I guess? Outside of Dolphins circles, few people care or know much about our GM search.....no one is obsessed about it, except us!--think Seahawks fans are reading this, or know anything/much about it? Niners fans?--Denver's?--Vikings?......Saints, Bears...Eagles?--do you think those fans know or care about this? Its barely news on espn, nfl.com, etc--Mike and Mike didnt mention it once this morning, for the 90 minutes that I listened? Its like we're all hysterical....in front of each other!

But I do think someone who remains calm, gains the trust of his players, and provides quality game management (which Philbin did at a high level this past year), is a good HC
Posted by: Krillian | January 24, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Quality game management? Philbin high level? Good HC?
WOW What meds are you on dude? You might think Philbo Baggins is a good coach, but high level game management ? no effing way

thanks Mark.....I only mentioned that in my post about 15 minutes earlier than you...

This is totally humilliating. It never used to be like this for the Dolphins.

The Dolphin situation is talked about in league circles and one suspects that it is not in a positive way.

how does a borderline playoff team, suddenly drop down to garbage status? We have a new OC and we have no idea how good our GM will be.

Fools be trippin' yo!

Killary, Morning Joe is on MSNBC. Joe Scarborough is a conservative. Again, I don't watch the other stations so I could not really tell anyone what is on there. Sometimes I'll watch Fox News to get a good laugh.
For what it's worth, I think Obama has been a disaster. Living in Mass, I am begging that our next Governor is a Republican because we are getting taxed to death up here. Every time I turn around our liberal Gov. is finding a new way to tax us. It's discouraging.

Posted by: MassDolphan | January 24, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Come on guy, I know that Obama's a "natural target" because of race, then party affiliation. But, regardless of party affiliation, do you really believe in President liberal or conservative, gives a damn what opinionated of him while in his "final term"?

Have you really sucked into the "MASS ILLUSION" we're really a "TWO PARTY" government? This is a "ONE PARTY" government that plays "GOOD COP, BAD COP" with a "GULLIBLE" public such as you. I see it's working.

yeah sure, Cue Card....I'm sure this is all execs around the league are talking about.....most are probably sitting around tables right now, obsessing over our GM search....and our "organizational structure"....yeah, right....geez, the self-importance on this blog is comical--we're not that important.....non Dolphins fans/execs dont care that much....or worry about it too much, if at all--only Mando, apparently, and the 25 people here are making this a big deal and discussing this ad nauseum

This speaks VOLUMES of the crap we have for players here....

Mark....I don't want to be insulting...but if other NFL PERSONNEL thought the way you did about Tanne...they would be lining up to take this job...,clearly they are not....and now a Browns guy is giving us the Heisman...WTF....how many GMs tried to cut the next man's throat to draft Luck and try to look like the next Bill Polian (GM= Genius Manager)....

If Tanne was all that....if his POTENTIAL was a SURE THING....if even one of the guys thought he (Tanne) had a HIGH PROBABILITY of winning the SB in the next 7 years (ceiling) they would have taken this job....

This speaks volumes to me...and not just about our FO...but the players as well..

Benz,you really ought to take your medication,you know.You won't get better until you do.are

maybe Sigh.....MAYBE....but the question is "how much"....how much time do team reps spend "talking about out situation", honestly....or worrying about it, or caring--how much?--passing conversation maybe?--dont you think they have more important issues to deal with, things to do?--like tend to their own team?....families?....lives?....the draft?.....free agency, etc?--seriously, how much time, if any, do you think "league circles" spend on this issue?....."not much"

rdubs, this is the way reactionary people behave. i see it in the stock market all the time. Past few days the amrket has been selling, people all over a re panicking - are we going to see 8,000 on the DOW again, better sell, better sell.

However, a more balanced approach is not to sell when things are going bad, but to buy, remain calm, take advanatage of opportunities. Personally I sold when I saw the volumes were 25% below the 200 day moving average for volumes while the index was at an all time high.

Anyway, I got off track here, sorry. The point is, never react too strongly one way or the other. The GM tag has a negative connotation around the league right now. So we are going to go from 8-8 to 0-16 because of this. How? Our roster going to disappear? Our coaches are gone? No, the only thing that would cause us to get worse is significant injuries. Things will not go to crap. They may or may not make the playoffs but if the team is healthy, to predict us to win one or two games? Not happening...

Other teams may not concentrate on our disfunction, but they know it exists and that is why qualified front office candidates throughout the league have avoided us like the plague. That affects the product on the field. I and other fans however do CARE about how this looks and more importantly how this affects wins and losses. It is humiliating to get refused by multiple qualified candidates when you are hiring for a GM position. These job searches don't usually take weeks. Can't you see how bad it is? Are you the guy on the Titanic sitting in his stateroom playing solitaire while everyone is running for a lifeboat?

I don't think within the league execs are obsessing about the Phins follies. I don't think they care.

I would expect rather that they chuckle, raise their eyebrows, shake their heads, say "Geez, Really? No thanks." and then move on to other topics.

I think we're an amusing afterthought.


I guess we are just the most realistic. We know we will watch the games and be excited, unlike the other people who claim they arent gonna watch the Phins etc. I obsess about this team and that wont change based on a Browns CO-GM turning it down?

Go Phins

its like this weird culture, or mindset, has been created by all this instant information, instant access, etc....suddenly everbody thinks that just about any issue is really that important to alot of people....because a columnist or two wrote something about it--wow....its just not--guaranteed I could call any of my many NFL fan friends and not one would know much or anything about this issue....probably dont even know we're looking for a GM to begin with--its not that important just because Mando says it is....

Miami Dolphins GM candidate Ray Farmer withdraws from consideration


Kris, we will see about the QB on the field next year. Last I remember though, Tannehill did pass for 275 yards and a touchdown in beating Farmer's team by 13 in their own barn.

It's official, we have become the:

Tampa Bay of the 70's
Saints(Aints) of the 70-85 era (even with Paytons father),

The Saints owner ( John Mecom) of 20 years finally sold the team in 1985, That's when they started winning. I hope Ross doesn't hang on to the Miami Dolphins for this long being as incompetent as he is running a NFL Franchise

Adam Schefter ‏@AdamSchefter 1m

Dolphins on to new candidate for vacant GM job: Patriots director of pro personnel Nick Caserio, who is in Miami interviewing today.

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