Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that the Atlanta Falcons have added Joe Banner as a consultant. Per Mehta, Banner will be helping the team and focusing on stadium and business issues. Recent reports indicated that the price of the Falcons new stadium is ballooning beyond initial expectations.
The cost of the stadium that is scheduled to be completed and opened in 2017 rose to $1.4 billion according to reports earlier this month. The league subsequently waived debt rules that would allow the Falcons to borrow $850 million, a record number.
But Banner’s presence in Atlanta is “intriguing” according to Pro Football Talk given the possibility that the Falcons may be making changes to their coaching staff and possibly front office this offseason. Whether Banner could potentially consult on those issues is unknown.
Banner spent one season as the CEO for the Cleveland Browns in 2013. He brought in Mike Lombardi as general manager and hired Rob Chudzinski as the team’s head coach. But after one season, Chudzinski was fired and Browns owner Jimmy Haslam opted to move the team in a different direction by hiring GM Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine.
Prior to joining the Browns, Banner spent nearly a decade with the Philadelphia Eagles, predominantly as team president. Banner and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie were childhood friends, and Banner joined the payroll in 1994. He stepped down in 2012 and became a consultant until he began a bid to buy the Browns. Eventually Haslam bought the team and hired Banner as CEO by the end of the year.