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Browns' Mangini mum on GM's ouster

By The Associated Press
Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009

BEREA, Ohio — The convoluted ouster of George Kokinis as Cleveland's general manager barely made a ripple in the Browns' locker room.

These guys are accustomed to losses.

Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas hardly knew Kokinis, who was hired in January and left the club under unexplained circumstances on Monday.

"He wasn't around too much, and when he was, he was pretty quiet," Thomas said.

Browns coach Eric Mangini offered no details about the team's decision to move on without his longtime friend and hand-picked GM.

"Anytime a decision like this is made it is difficult personally and professionally," Mangini said. "George is a friend of mine, and I respect him and I wish his family well. I can tell you that for a variety of reasons things didn't work out. You never go into a situation like this with the intention of it not working out."

That was about as deep as Mangini would venture into the Kokinis matter. Mangini spent most of his news conference politely deflecting questions about why the decision was made.

He was asked if there were legal reasons why he couldn't address Kokinis' exit.

"There's really a variety of reasons," he said, "and I'll just leave it at that."

Browns owner Randy Lerner, who following Sunday's loss in Chicago said he planned to hire a "serious, credible" football authority to help run his fumbling franchise, was not available for comment.

Lerner did spend two hours meeting with two disgruntled season-ticket holders, who have been urging Cleveland fans to stay out of their seats for the Nov. 16 kickoff against Baltimore in protest of the team's futility. "Dawg Pound Mike" Randall said Lerner was open to their ideas and gave them a few of his own.

"He's trying to get the Browns on the right track," Randall said. "He wants it to happen now. He cares deeply."

It's still not known if Kokinis was fired or forced out by the Browns, who are 1-7 and have been overmatched in most of their games.

There were reports that Kokinis was asked to resign by Lerner, who pressed the former GM and sought to dismiss him "for cause." Citing a team source, reported that the team's security and legal department were reviewing phone records to build its case against Kokinis.

The Browns denied reports that Kokinis was escorted from the building Monday.



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