Browns, GM face texting sanctions

A suspension for general manager Ray Farmer, a loss of a draft pick and a fine for the team are among the possible sanctions the Cleveland Browns are facing in the NFL's investigation into allegations that texts were being sent to the sideline during games, league sources told ESPN, confirming a report by Cleveland.com.

The NFL's findings in the investigation are expected by the end of the month and Farmer faces a multiple-game suspension, according to sources.

Texting is a violation of NFL rules prohibiting electronic communication during games.

Cleveland.com originally reported last month that text messages from a high-level front-office member were sent and that it was one issue in former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan leaving the team. He perceived it as interference from the front office regarding coaching decisions.

The website, citing multiple sources, reported that Farmer sent the texts.

A league source confirmed that Farmer was doing the texting, with most going to quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains, who sat in the press box, and an unnamed team employee on the sideline.

Farmer's text messages were nearly a season-long occurrence, a source close to the situation said Wednesday. The texts took place for multiple games and continued at least until Johnny Manziel got his first start in Week 15.

The texts did not necessarily deal with strategy, but with issues related to quarterback play, use of personnel and second-guessing of play calls and use of personnel -- especially the quarterback. The individual on the sideline was expected to relay Farmer's information/requests to the coaching staff.

Whether the texts represented a competitive advantage will be a key factor in the league's investigation. If the texts were determined to provide an advantage, it would be a more serious issue.

Coach Mike Pettine confirmed last month that NFL investigators had been to Cleveland to look into the allegations.

"The investigators came in here, and I spoke with them," Pettine said Jan. 22, declining further comment until the review is completed.

Owner Jimmy Haslam said later that day that the team was cooperating with the NFL in its investigation.

"If we did anything wrong, I'm sure we'll correct it and make whatever amends," Haslam said. "I know we've cooperated fully with the NFL."

The investigation of the Browns is one of four active NFL probes. The Atlanta Falcons, for allegedly using fake crowd noise at home games; the New England Patriots, for allegedly using underinflated footballs in the first half of the AFC Championship Game; and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, for allegedly tampering with Darrelle Revis via comments he made about the Patriots cornerback, also are the subject of investigations.

Depending on the outcome of the investigations, at least two, and possibly three, cases are expected to result in fines and a loss of draft picks, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

ESPN.com's Pat McManamon contributed to this report.