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Joe Banner, not Michael Lombardi, 'calling the shots'?

Michael Lombardi, our former colleague at NFL Network, has been a lightning rod for attention on the Cleveland Browns since taking over as the Browns GM. But perhaps the attention is misplaced because Lombardi is in a supporting role to CEO Joe Banner.'s Tony Grossi answered a question about Brandon Weeden's future like so:

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"Like the national media, you are making the mistake of discounting the influence of coaches Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner on the process. I promise you this: If Weeden is at the throttle of a winning season in 2013, he will not be replaced in 2014. That doesn't mean the Browns won't draft a quarterback -- Weeden will be 30, after all -- but Banner is not going to replace him simply out of ego.

"Also, I believe Lombardi's influence on the QB position is greatly exaggerated. Banner is calling the shots, not Lombardi."

It's an interesting distinction to make. And it's one that has been repeated often this year, with the Browns' organizational reporting structure as proof. Lombardi reports to Banner, who clearly is having a bigger say in personnel than he did on the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Browns' franchise is a Joe Banner production. Just look at the fascinating Grantland piece on the Browns and the buzz that Banner played national media against each other with leaks during the pre-draft process. Banner clearly is in charge, even regarding personnel.

I don't think he'd shy away from that assessment.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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