Browns general manager George Kokinis was ousted Monday, but the team confirmed only that he is no longer ''actively involved with the organization.''
Kokinis' departure appeared to come under contentious circumstances, but it is unclear whether he resigned or was forced out. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that the Browns were trying to work out a settlement with Kokinis in which he would resign, but that Kokinis had refused.
A statement released by the Browns denied reports that Kokinis was escorted out of the building.
''In the interest of protecting the parties involved, we will withhold further comment,'' the statement said.
A witness said Kokinis, carrying a travel bag, came down the stairs and was met by an administrative staffer. The staffer was joined by a high-ranking official and both watched Kokinis walk to his car on the team's security cameras.
Kokinis is the second to go in recent days, following director of football operations Erin O'Brien, who served as coach Eric Mangini's personal assistant with the New York Jets. The moves do not bode well for Mangini's future, even though owner Randy Lerner said Sunday that Mangini would not be fired this week during the Browns' bye.
But this move comes a day after Lerner said he wanted to hire a ''strong, credible, serious leader'' to guide the football operations and characterized it as a high priority.
Kokinis was hired Jan. 23 from the Baltimore Ravens, where he worked for 18 years, including the last six as director of pro personnel. But Mangini was hired by Lerner first and clearly had all the power, even though Kokinis said at his introductory press conference that he had final say on the 53-man roster.
Something about the Browns' arrangement clearly angered Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, who would never talk about Kokinis with old friends in Cleveland.
Kokinis watched road games in Pittsburgh and Chicago from the press box, conversing with friends but not the media. On Oct. 18 at Pittsburgh, Kokinis appeared very unhappy when he left the Browns' locker room after the game, spending about two minutes there.
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