Lombardi has 22 years of pro front office experience, but he has spent the past five seasons working for the NFL Network. He previously worked for the Browns from 1987-95 under then-coach Bill Belichick. Lombardi has also worked for new Browns CEO Joe Banner in Philadelphia and the two have maintained a close relationship. Last week, Banner denied Lombardi was assisting him in the club's coaching search.
Lombardi has also worked in San Francisco and Oakland, where he spent eight seasons (1999-2007).
The Browns have been looking for a general manager or personnel director since Tom Heckert was fired following a 5-11 season. Heckert overhauled Cleveland's roster in three seasons.
Last week, the team hired former Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski as its sixth coach since 1999.
Below is the official announcement from the Browns:
The Cleveland Browns today named Michael Lombardi as the club's Vice President – Player Personnel. Lombardi brings 22 years of NFL experience as a front office executive to his second stint the Browns, most recently spending eight seasons (1999-2007) in the player personnel department of the Oakland Raiders. Since 2008, he has worked primarily as an analyst with NFL Network and NFL.com.
Over the course of his NFL career, Lombardi has been associated with teams that have advanced to the playoffs on 10 occasions, won seven division titles, made five Conference Championship game appearances and earned two trips to the Super Bowl, capturing Super Bowl XIX following the 1984 season as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
During his tenure with the Raiders, Lombardi's role included, dealing with personnel decisions and contract negotiations in the player personnel department. Oakland captured three consecutive AFC West titles (2000-02) and advanced to Super Bowl XXXVII while he was a member of the organization.
Prior to joining the Raiders staff, Lombardi spent two seasons (1997-98) with the personnel department of the Philadelphia Eagles. He played an integral role in the 1998 draft, one in which the Eagles selected future Pro Bowlers in offensive tackle Tra Thomas, linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, kick returner Allen Rossum and linebacker Ike Reese. As a part of that draft, the club also traded for defensive lineman Hugh Douglas, who would become a key component of the defense, as he led the team in sacks for three straight seasons (2000-02) and was voted to the Pro Bowl each of those years. Those players helped lay the foundation for Philadelphia, who would reach the playoffs five straight seasons (2000-04), including four consecutive trips to the NFC Championship game (2001-04) and a berth in Super Bowl XXXIX.
In his first tour with the Browns, Lombardi joined the club as a member of the scouting staff in 1987. He was named the team's pro personnel director in 1989, a title in which he held until 1993. The Browns won two AFC Central titles in 1987 and 1989, along with advancing to the AFC Championship game both seasons. He was promoted to director of player personnel in 1993, and the following season of 1994, the Browns compiled an 11-5 record and advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs after having won just three games in 1990.
Lombardi joined the NFL personnel ranks in 1984, spending three seasons (1984-86) in the personnel department of the San Francisco 49ers. With the 49ers, Lombardi coordinated scouting reports and evaluated collegiate talent as the club captured the 1984 and 1986 NFC West titles and defeated the Miami Dolphins, 38-16, in Super Bowl XIX to conclude his first season with the team.
Outside of the front office, Lombardi has held multiple positions as a collegiate coach, analyst, reporter and writer throughout his career. Immediately following his collegiate playing career, he spent two seasons (1982-83) as defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. As a member of the media, he spent 1996 as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN. He also spent portions of 1998 and 1999 as a studio analyst for CBS Sports as on-air talent for the NFL Today Pre-Game Show.
A native of Ocean City, New Jersey, Lombardi lettered in both football and baseball at Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania. He then attended Hofstra University, where he was a three-year letterman (1979-81) as a defensive lineman and earned a bachelor's degree in sociology.
Michael and his wife, Millie, have two sons, Mick, a scouting assistant with the New England Patriots, and Matthew, a senior at the University of Delaware.