Cleveland Browns GM suspended for secretly texting coaches during games

The NFL has suspended Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer for the first four games of the 2015 for communicating with coaches during games over text message.

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, who first wrote about the story, reports that Farmer secretly texted coaches his opinions on offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s “playcalling and use of personnel, among other things.”

In a statement about the punishment, the NFL said Farmer violated the NFL’s electronic communication rules on “multiple occasions.” He was suspended without pay and isn’t allowed in the team’s facility until Week 5. The Browns were fined $US250,000 as part of the scandal, but didn’t lose any draft picks, which was considered a possibility.

“Accountability is integral to what we are trying to build and as a leader I need to set the right example,” Farmer said in a statement. “I made a mistake and apologise to Jimmy Haslam, Mike Pettine, our entire organisation and our fans for the ramifications.”

According to Cabot, the press box-to-sideline texting was part of the reason Shanahan quit the team after one year and took the same position with the Atlanta Falcons. She reported after the season:

“Kyle Shanahan was eager to strike out on his own [before joining the Browns], but landed in a situation that has become dysfunctional for him, the sources said. The biggest problem, they say is that the personnel side and coaches aren’t seeing eye to eye on some key issues. One source said some coaches became upset when a high-ranking personnel member texted from the press box to the sidelines about play calls.”

It’s a strange situation that’s representative of the Browns’ nightmare offseason on the whole.

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