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Pettine on alleged rift with Browns GM: ‘We’re singing from the same hymnal’

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Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine on Monday attempted to dispel reports that surfaced last week that indicated he and the team’s general manager, Ray Farmer, aren’t on the same page, colorfully illustrating that the two actually work well together by insisting they are “singing from the same hymnal.”

The crux of the allegations that Pettine and Farmer are involved in a power struggle stems from the departure of player engagement director Jamil Northcutt, one of the general manager’s confidantes and reportedly an irritant to Pettine and his coaching staff.

But Pettine insisted everything is hunky dory, specifically citing how he and Farmer collaborated well during the 2015 NFL Draft and this offseason’s free agency period.

“When you look at the roster moves we’ve made, from the beginning here, though this past draft and even adding Terrelle Pryor here, right up to some of the things we’re doing now around camp, we’re singing from the same hymnal virtually on every decision,” he said, via a report from Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Mary Kay Cabot. “To say we agree on everything would not be accurate, but to say there’s a rift or a power struggle or a tug of war, that would be completely inaccurate.”

The Browns head coach suggested that the reason for the reports regarding the supposed rift could be attributed to an uninspiring news cycle.

“I think it was that late summer slow news day,” Pettine joked, suggesting that Northcutt’s departure was blown out of proportion before adding that the “truth is Ray and I work very well together.”

Farmer is suspended for the first four games of the 2015 NFL season after he was found to have been sending impermissible texts to Browns staff during games, meaning Pettine arguably will have relative autonomy for the first quarter of the season. Even so, Farmer will return soon enough and if there is any accuracy to the reports that the two are involved in a power struggle — despite Pettine’s insistence otherwise — it certainly doesn’t set up the Browns for any chance of success.