CLEVELAND – Baltimore pro personnel director George Kokinis has been hired as Cleveland’s general manager, reuniting him with new Browns coach and close friend Eric Mangini.
Kokinis, who began his NFL career as an intern in the Browns’ operations department in 1991, was hand-picked by Mangini, who recommended him during his first interview with Browns owner Randy Lerner on Dec. 30. Mangini took over as Cleveland’s coach on Jan. 7, just one week after he was fired following three seasons with the New York Jets.
Determined to match a coach and GM who can work well together after the Romeo Crennel-Phil Savage relationship failed, Lerner is teaming up a pair of friends who shared an apartment when they first broke into the league and have remained tight.
Terms of Kokinis’ deal were not immediately known.
The Browns have scheduled a news conference today to introduce the 41-year-old Kokinis, who spent 13 years with the Ravens, the past six as the club’s director of pro personnel.
Cleveland’s GM position has been open since Lerner fired Savage after the Browns concluded a 4-12 season. The Savage-Crennel team produced a 24-40 record and no playoff appearances in four years. Lerner still owes the pair millions after signing them to contract extensions last winter.
Kokinis’ hiring has been expected for more than a week. He spent two days in meetings earlier this week at the team’s headquarters.
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