Browns Owner Randy Lerner was not kidding when he said changes were pending.
UPDATE: Per John Taylor and TheOBR.com: “There continues to be rumblings that there’s been increased chatter between owner Randy Lerner, newly-anointed consultant Bernie Kosar and Ernie Accorsi.”
Accorsi was the GM of the Browns from 1985-1992, previous to team’s move to Baltimore.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting the Browns GM George Kokinis was escorted from the facility earlier today. This is the story by reporter Mary Kay Cabot:
“Browns general manager George Kokinis was escorted out of the Browns facility in Berea by security, two league sources told the Plain Dealer, and is believed to have been fired.
The Browns did not immediately return calls or emails, including an email to owner Randy Lerner.
Kokinis was handpicked by Browns coach Eric Mangini to be his general manager, but was barely heard from after his hiring in January. Both began their careers in Cleveland as underlings to Bill Belichick in the early 1990s.
One league source said ‘Kokinis is a great guy who does not deserve this. He is taking the fall for the team’s problems and it’s not right.’
Browns owner Randy Lerner spent considerable time following Sunday’s 30-6 loss to the Bears on Sunday talking one-on-one with Dawn Aponte, Vice President, Football Administration, who was under Kokinis’ jurisdiction in the football operations department.
Afterwards, Lerner told two reporters that he wouldn’t fire Mangini during the bye this week but that was searching for a football authority to guide the organization.
‘There’s absolutely no question about that,” he said. “The highest priority that I have is a strong, credible, serious leader within the building to guide decisions in a far more conspicuous, open transparent way. I can maybe defend decisions by saying I’ve sought advice and I’ve brought people in, and we’ve gone to see people — and I think my highest priority is to have a stable figure that represents the voice that explains the decisions.’
Even though Mangini has been the voice of the organization since his hiring, Lerner seemed irked that Kokinis didn’t take a more high-profile role in the organization. In fact, he encouraged him to be interviewed recently by Sports Illustrated.
Kokinis’ ouster comes just days after the Browns dismissed Mangini’s hand-picked director of team operations, Erin O’Brien. O’Brien was Mangini’s righthand assistant with the Jets.
The move also comes just weeks after Lerner brought Bernie Kosar on board in an unofficial capacity as another pair of eyes.
Kokinis, who had final say on the 53-man roster, had 18 years’ NFL experience, including 13 with the Ravens.”