Kokinis thrown under the bus – who’s next?
by Matt Booher
The dismissal of George Kokinis as General Manager of the Cleveland Browns sounds like an act of desperation and these are desperate times for the franchise. But make no mistake, this move was no act of desperation. Kokinis’s dismissal was a direct shot at head coach Eric Mangini as Mangini personally selected Kokinis as GM. But Mangini is no longer in control. After Sunday’s game owner Randy Lerner said the team needed to hire a “strong, credible, serious leader.” He took the first step on Monday by letting Kokinis go. The second step is around the corner as Lerner will likely seek a personality similar to Martin O’Niell, the man running his Aston Villa soccer club – an experienced, credible, and highly respected manager of men.
The difficult thing about the Kokinis firing is how it sounds a bit criminal – as if the Browns could not tolerate his presence any longer and they needed to escort him from the premises. The only criminal behavior at this point is the Browns performance on the field and the fact that the players actually get to collect paychecks after increasingly sad and pathetic performances. Kokinis did leave the Browns with a solid salary cap situation and did manage to find a taker for Kellen Winslow and his creaky knees. But it appears he all to often rubber stamped Mangini’s player personnel plans and didn’t act like the boss.
It’s clear this saga is far from over. The firing and hiring of a strong football leader is only the start. But as this soap opera unfolds, we can only wonder what’s coming next? My guess is its not nearly as predictable as a Browns incompletion on third down.