The Cleveland Browns made the surprise personnel move of the young offseason Tuesday.
The Browns announced they’ve hired Paul DePodesta as their chief strategy officer. That name should sound familiar, especially to baseball fans, as DePodesta had been serving as the New York Mets’ vice president of player development and amateur scouting.
DePodesta, an analytics expert, will be responsible for “assessing and implementing best practices and strategies that will provide the organization with the comprehensive resources needed to make optimal decisions,” the Browns’ press release announcing the move read.
“We are fortunate to bring in Paul, an extremely talented, highly respected sports executive who will add a critical dimension to our front office,” Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. “His approach and ambition to find the best pathways for organizational success transcend one specific sport and his experience as a high level sports executive make him a terrific addition to the Cleveland Browns.”
The move to the NFL will surprise many, but DePodesta, who played football and baseball at Harvard, always had his eye on the gridiron, according to Mets assistant general manager J.P. Ricciardi.
“Paul always had an interest in football,” Ricciardi told the New York Daily News. “I think his original goal was to go to the NFL. He saw this an an unbelievable opportunity that he thought might never come along again.”
DePodesta was prominently featured in the best-selling book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” for the work he did alongside Billy Beane, the then-general manager of the Oakland Athletics. In the 2011 movie adapted from the book, Jonah Hill played Peter Brand, a character based on DePodesta.
DePodesta is familiar with Cleveland, too, getting his start in baseball with the Indians. He spent two seasons as a scout and one season as an assistant to the general manager.
Thumbnail photo via Ron Schwane/USA TODAY Sports Images
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