Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer was suspended for four games without pay by the National Football League on Monday for violating rules banning the use of electronic devices during games.
Farmer sent text messages to the Browns sideline with a cell phone during games last season. He admitted to the violations during last month`s NFL Scouting Combine.
The suspension will begin at the start of the 2015 regular season and forbids Farmer from any involvement in club matters or from being at the team`s offices, practice facility or Browns games.
"I respect the league`s decision and understand that there are consequences for my actions," Farmer said. "Accountability is integral to what we are trying to build and as a leader I need to set the right example."
Farmer apologized to Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, team coach Mike Pettine and Browns fans, adding, "Learning is a big part of who I am and I will certainly be better from this situation."
The Browns were also fined $250,000, although the league found no other members of the front office were involved.
"We accept the league`s ruling," Haslam said. "Ray made a mistake and takes full responsibility for his role in violating the policy. It is critical that we make better decisions. Ray has tremendous integrity and I know has great remorse for what occurred. We are all committed to learning from this and making the Browns a stronger and better organization."
The texts involved were reportedly on play calling and personnel and might have contributed to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan`s decision to resign after the season.