Apparently there is someone out there who has been campaigning for the Browns’ GM job for weeks. He wants it so bad that he doesn’t even care that the team went ahead and hired Eric Mangini without having a GM in place. His name is Ted Sundquist and he is the former GM of the Denver Broncos. Frankly, the man seems too good to be true.
He spent 16 years with the Broncos, and he was one of the more active GMs in the league when it came to drafting, trading, and signing free agents (but hey, they still won; he was doing something right). One of his best moves came before the 2004 season, when he traded RB Clinton Portis to the Washington Redskins for CB Champ Bailey and a second-round pick that ended up being reliable (for a few seasons at least) Tatum Bell. The guy makes moves and explores every option in order to make his team a contender. Sundquist also worked his magic in the 2006 draft, working his way from the 29th overall pick to the 11th in order to obtain QB Jay Cutler.
He was fired after spending 16 years in the Broncos organization, working his way up from the college scouting department for ten years and finally spending his last six as the GM. The reasoninig for his firing seems to mirror the way former head coach Mike Shanahan was let go – the team simply needed to move in a different direction. That, and there was quite a bit of tension between Shanahan and the front office after a 9-7 season in 2006 that ended without a playoff appearance and a 7-9 year in 2007. That’s what happens when you have a coach with too much power, like Shanahan. The power to coach the team and make front office decisions can create a lot of tension and the need to protect one’s ego, so I don’t believe the performances on the field were entirely indicative of how Sundquist operated as a GM, as a normal firing would suggest.
With all this being said, why not Ted Sundquist? He really wants the job, saying “I feel like I have a lot of experience to offer a club and I’d love the opportunity to get back to running a team.” He does have a lot of experience – 16 years, to be exact – compared to George Kokinis and his whopping zero. Sundquist has been described as nothing less than a class act and a man that embodied the word “professional.” Which means that he never e-mailed fans impolitely asking them to go root for other teams.
Somehow though, no interview has been set for Sundquist. Why that is, I don’t know. The man was a finalist for the Chiefs’ GM job, has years of experience, and desperately wants the job. The Browns, on the other hand, would rather invest their time talking to a guy who has never had this kind of front office power and almost considered staying in Baltimore, no doubt because he thinks his situation is better there. Forget the guy with a ton of passion.
Why isn’t Randy Lerner interviewing Sundquist? Does he come off as too “needy” or something? Does Sundquist call Lerner ten times a day, leaving late-night messages on his voicemail “just begging for a chance. C’mon baby, I know I can make you happy. We can be so happy together”? Whatever it is, he should at least get an interview. Even James Harris got an interview after he was done running the Jaguars into the ground.
What a mistake it would be to not explore Sundquist as an option.