Mangini and Kokinis weren’t getting along

Tony Grossi reports that Eric Mangini and George Kokinis were not getting along as “both men became disenchanted with the other early on.”

This is pretty surprising, given that Kokinis was Mangini’s hand-picked GM. On the other hand, nothing ever seems to go smoothly in Berea under Randy Lerner. There’s been more drama at Browns’ headquarters than we typically see in a full season of Grey’s Anatomy. Remember the turf battles between Phil Savage and former team President John Collins?

It all goes back to Lerner. He’s doing all the hiring here, and then he leaves the building and expects things to run smoothly. Now he’s reportedly bringing in Ernie Accorsi and Bernie Kosar. The Accorsi move in particular would be a great one, but can we expect the drama to cease as long as Lerner’s the owner? Time will tell.

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Bizarre circumstances surrounding the Kokinis firing

The story here is very strange according to ESPN.

Kokinis refused to resign when pressed by owner Randy Lerner, who then persisted in seeking a dismissal “for cause,” citing Kokinis for failing to meet the specific standards as dictated by his contract, the sources said. The team’s security and legal department were reviewing phone records to build its case against Kokinis, a team source said.

There also were discussions of whether the two sides could reach a financial settlement, sources said.

Television station WKYC and the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported Monday night that Kokinis was ushered out of the Berea facility by security around lunchtime Monday.

In a statement, the Browns said, “Cleveland Browns general manager George Kokinis is no longer actively involved with the organization. In response to rumors and reports that Kokinis was escorted out of the building today, the Browns deny those reports. In the interest of protecting the parties involved we will withhold further comment.”

Dialogue between the two sides actually occurred for the past week before Sunday’s 30-6 loss to the Bears sent the Browns reeling into the bye week with a 1-7 record. For the past month, Lerner has independently investigated professional and personal conduct by Kokinis, head coach Eric Mangini and director of football operations Erin O’Brien, who left the organization within the past few days, sources said. Mangini said Monday he had spoken with Lerner and was told his job was safe for now.

It appears that problems with George Kokinis have been building for weeks. It’s not like Randy Lerner to try to terminate an executive or coach “for cause” – a common legal term in contracts which usually permits the employer to fire someone for specified reasons which would result in penalties for the employee, usually the loss of severance or other future payments. Bottom line – Lerner wanted Kokinis gone and he didn’t want to pay him the balance of his contract. We can expect to hear much more about this story.

George Kokinis out as Browns GM

All sorts of reports are flying around the web, but it appears that the Browns have let go General manager George Kokinis.

It’s hard to react to this without having all the facts, but the Browns under Randy Lerner are starting to rival the Oakland Raiders and the Washington Redskins as the most dysfunctional franchises in the NFL. As I discussed yesterday, it all comes down to Randy Lerner.

Why would the General Manager hand-picked by Eric Mangini be fired after only nine months? He’s not coaching the team, and frankly most of his moves have made sense. He hasn’t destroyed the cap and he traded guys like Winslow and Edwards for draft picks. His draft doesn’t look great so far, but for years Browns fans have complained about not drafting offensive linemen, and Kokinis picked up a center in the first round. He may not look like a pro-bowler now, but it’s not crazy to expect Alex Mack to anchor the line for years with Joe Thomas.

Problems must exist behind the scenes, but will Randy Lerner have the guts to face the media and explain himself here? With a control-freak like Eric Mangini, who’s going to come in and run this team?

Perhaps Bernie Kosar will take a bigger role. Also, the one positive bit of news is that Chris Mortensen is reporting that Lerner wants Ernie Accorsi to come in as a consultant. Now that would make sense. We can only hope he hands the reins over to Kosar and Accorsi to fix the mess he’s created.