Cleveland — The Cleveland Browns’ roster still needs major work. Their front office is starting to shape up.
New general manager John Dorsey tapped into his NFL connections to improve the winless Browns, adding former Green Bay executives Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith on Wednesday in the club’s first major moves in a significant offseason.
Dorsey played linebacker for the Packers and spent time working in the club’s front office with Wolf and Highsmith, two highly regarded talent evaluators with solid reputations.
The 35-year-old Wolf, who is considered a rising star in the league, will serve as Dorsey’s assistant while Highsmith, a former NFL running back, is the Browns’ vice president of player personnel.
“We’re lucky to add Alonzo and Eliot to our personnel staff,” said Dorsey, who was hired last month by owner Jimmy Haslam.
“Alonzo’s 25 years of experience in the National Football League as a player, scout and personnel executive give him a unique perspective when it comes to evaluating talent and building a team.
“Alonzo and I share the same passion for this great game of football. We are going to set out to find talented football players that possess that same passion for the game.
“Eliot has been a fine executive in this league for some time now. It’s been great to watch him grow up around this league when I was with him in Green Bay and from afar for the last five-plus years. He’s been a big reason for the consistent success the Packers have experienced over the last decade.”
Wolf spent 14 seasons with the Packers, working as the club’s director of football operations for the past two. He recently interviewed for the Green Bay GM job that went to Brian Gutekunst and Wolf was reportedly offered a spot to work in Oakland with Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie. Dorsey, McKenzie and Wolf all worked together in Green Bay.
But the son of Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf is instead joining the Browns, still crawling from the wreckage of a 0-16 season while preparing for a draft in which they’ll have the No. 1 overall pick and four in the top 35.
“I really like the direction of where leadership is headed,” Wolf said. “We’re going to build this team the right way and to be a part of that from the ground up is going to be special.”
Injured Shazier at practice
Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Shazier has attended practice for the first time since injuring his spine against Cincinnati last month.
Shazier posted a photo on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon from the team’s indoor training facility as Pittsburgh prepared to host Jacksonville in the divisional round of the playoffs. Shazier, who underwent spine stabilization surgery on Dec. 6, is pictured in a wheelchair wearing sweatpants and a Steelers jacket.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is back with the team after missing Tuesday’s practice to attend to an undisclosed personal matter.