Stephen Brashear/Associated Press
When Michael Lombardi and Joe Banner were running the show in Cleveland, it was almost as if they were allergic to players over the age of 30. Once you hit the triple-decade mark you were considered a pestilence to the roster and certainly not worth signing in free agency.
Ray Farmer, on the other hand, executed a rare feat in the first day of free agency and actually made his team older. Donte Whiter is about a year older than T.J. Ward and has played four more seasons. Karlos Dansby is also two years older than D’Qwell Jackson.
So why take the risk on players with more miles on their body? Farmer wanted leadership and attitude and he certainly got it.
“Guys may hit me up and say, ‘I want to go on this journey with you.’ They know what kind of guy I am, what kind of player I am, and what I put into this game,” said Dansby via Ohio.com during their introductory press conference. “The way I approach this game is different. It’s totally different, and I think it’s special. I’ve been touched. I’ve got a gift, and they know I’m going to put everything I got into it.”
Whitner added, “First and foremost, leadership within the locker room (is what I can provide). Whenever you come from a winning organization and you come to a team that hasn’t really had that winning success as of late, you really have to change the culture, you have to change the mindset and you have to change the feel within the locker room.”
Whitner has missed one game in the last four seasons and Dansby has not missed a game in three years. If they can stay healthy and productive then Farmer’s gamble will pay off. If they cannot, then he better have some reserves coming through the draft.