Marylander takes over Cleveland Browns; former Packers linebacker John Dorsey wants to “awaken this sleeping giant”

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  • Out to beat the Packers: . "I believe there's good in every organization. I believe that the Cleveland Browns - you know what? This weekend, they're going to win. I'm the eternal optimist. That's who I am.
Cleveland Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam introduces new GM John Michael Dorsey at a press conference. Photo courtesy of Cleveland Browns

Marylander takes over Cleveland Browns; former Packers linebacker John Dorsey wants to “awaken this sleeping giant”

John Michael Dorsey has a new challenge as a specialist in winning football games, that of turning around the Cleveland Browns and making the team a contender.

Dorsey is a native of Leonardtown, Maryland where his family is storied in Old Line State politics.

Sen. Walter Dorsey, second from right and his sons, John, far left, and Phil, right, working to get one of their political allies, Del. John William Quade, second from left, elected.

His father, the late Walter B. Dorsey, served two terms as a State Senator and five terms as St. Mary’s County States Attorney while his grandfather was a Circuit Court Judge.

In addition, his mother, the late Jeanne Dorsey Mandel, was the First Lady of Maryland when she married the late Governor Marvin Mandel. His brother Phil Dorsey is a leading attorney in both criminal and personal injury law and his son Bryant Dorsey is Assistant District Attorney at Brown County District Attorney’s Office in Wisconsin. John Dorsey’s brother, Paul, is an attorney in Annapolis while his sister Helen operates a family management business. 

John Dorsey has gained his ground on the gridiron, playing linebacker for the Green Bay Packers before retiring as a player and gaining positions in personnel and director of Football Operations at Green Bay and Seattle prior to taking the General Manager post at the Kansas City Chiefs for the past four seasons, winning 43 games in the process.

From The Cleveland Browns:  Five things to know about John Dorsey:

1. Dorsey spent the four past seasons as the Chiefs’ general manager until he parted ways with Kansas City this past summer. Under his leadership, the Chiefs compiled a 43-21 record (the fourth-highest winning percentage in the NFL during that span) and were an AFC playoff contender year over year.

2. Notable players drafted by Dorsey include Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce, Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters, linebacker Dee Ford, Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill and current Browns backup quarterback Kevin Hogan. Dorsey also traded for Chiefs quarterback and Pro Bowler Alex Smith, who has set multiple team passing records since coming to Kansas City.

3. Tasked with building a winning franchise in Cleveland, Dorsey is no stranger to facing adversity. In his first season, Dorsey was named the 2013 Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America after the Chiefs posted an 11-5 season following a 2-14 finish the previous year. Then, in 2015, Dorsey played a role in what’s considered one of the greatest single-season turnarounds in NFL history. After a 1-5 start, Kansas City won its final 10 games and clinched a playoff spot. 

4. Before Kansas City, Dorsey cut his teeth with the Packers (who, coincidentally, travel to Cleveland this weekend for Sunday’s game) and played a major role in laying the groundwork for one of the league’s most consistent franchises. In 21 years with Green Bay, he started as a college scout for them in 1991 and eventually climbed to director of college scouting. After a season with the Seahawks (he followed former Packers coach Mike Holmgren to Seattle), Dorsey returned to the Packers in the same capacity and helped find quarterback Aaron Rodgers, wide receiver Greg Jennings, defensive lineman B.J. Raji and linebacker Clay Matthews.

5. Before he was an executive, Dorsey was a linebacker and special teams ace for the Packers. Drafted in 1984, he played six seasons and amassed 130 tackles. A special teams captain, he set the team record with 35 special teams tackles as a rookie. Before Green Bay, Dorsey was a four-year starter at Connecticut and a two-time Yankee Conference Defensive Player of the Year selection.


John Michael Dorsey at Fork Union Military Academy

BEREA, Ohio — Brown’s new general manager John Dorsey came up in the Packers organization and sees similarities between the two storied franchises, except one has been dormant for far too long.

“You know what? Let’s re-awake this sleeping giant, the Cleveland Browns,” said Dorsey, who replaced the fired Sashi Brown on Thursday night as GM. “I’m kind of excited about that.”

Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs in June despite a 43-21 record and three trips to the postseason in his four seasons as GM from 2013-16, was so fired up that he gave the players a “win one for the Gipper” speech in the locker room about their matchup Sunday against his former Packers team.

“I believe there’s good in everybody,” he said. “I believe there’s good in every organization. I believe that the Cleveland Browns – you know what? This weekend, they’re going to win. I’m the eternal optimist. That’s who I am.

“I am not going to say (it’ll be easy); you are going to pinpoint me on this. Through hard work and due diligence, all I’m going to tell you is we will give it our best effort. We’re coming in next year, we are going to compete in the AFC North and we are going to try to reestablish some position in the AFC North.” MORE


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