A look into the background of the Browns new head personnel man, as a pivotal free agency and draft period are ahead with a new head coach.


BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns promoted Assistant General Manager Ray Farmer to the role of general manager Tuesday, as part of sweeping front office changes.

Farmer's promotion is effective immediately and he will be the head of Browns football operations, leading the team through a pivotal free agency and draft period ahead, working with new head coach Mike Pettine.

A former NFL safety with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1996 to 1998, Farmer, 39, started his front office work as an academic coordinator for the football program at his alma mater, Duke University, in 2001.

His rise over the next decade included working as a scout for the Atlanta Falcons from 2002-2005 before longtime Chiefs GM Carl Peterson hired him as the team's director of pro personnel. He survived a major regime change when the Chiefs brought in former Patriots ace GM Scott Pioli to run football operations.

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Farmer was a leading candidate for the Browns GM job in 2013 before taking the assistant general manager job after Michael Lombardi was hired as vice president of player personnel, and later general manager.

At the time, the hiring sent up red flags to football insiders that Farmer was being positioned to eventually become the team's leading personnel man.

Three weeks ago, reports surfaced that Ray Farmer, who had been considered a contender for GM openings around the league, had withdrawn his name from consideration in the Miami Dolphins' search.

Farmer says turning down the Dolphins and being promoted by the Browns were unrelated and that the Miami job just wasn't a good fit for him.

In his introductory press conference Tuesday, he started by outlining his affinity for acronyms that serve as the framework for his management philosophy.

KTB is one of his phrases, which stands for "know, trust and believe."

Adding to his philosophical alphabet soup is GUTF: "Get up the field." This is a phrase referring to his desire to finish strong and win.

"I know, trust and believe in Jimmy Haslam and what he has established in Cleveland," Farmer said Tuesday.

Farmer comes into this job with an air of confidence. When asked about drafting a quarterback, or any other player, high in the draft, he said, "Regardless of the player, I'll make the right decision."

Farmer is one of the few African American general managers in the NFL. Other African American GMs in the NFL include Baltimore Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, New York Giants GM Jerry Reese, Houston Texans GM Rick Smith, Detroit Lions GM Martin Mayhew and Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie.

He acknowledged the significance of this, saying Tuesday, "I'm very proud and happy for this day... I wanted [my mom and day] to see this day."

Farmer reportedly has a four-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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