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Report: Browns to interview Harris

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 14, 2009

Browns owner Randy Lerner will interview former Jacksonville Jaguars vice president of player personnel James Harris on Thursday in New York, WKYC Channel 3 reported Wednesday.

Harris, 61, resigned on Dec. 23 after serving nearly six years as the Jaguars GM.

A playoff team in 2007, Jacksonville went 5-11 in 2008, including a 2-8 finish that began with a 23-17 loss to Cleveland. Harris took the blame for the acquisition of two underperforming free agents -- wide receiver Jerry Porter of Oakland and cornerback Drayton Florence of San Diego -- who cost a reported $23 million. Harris also brought in receiver Troy Williamson from Minnesota and moved up in the draft to select Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey, who managed just four sacks as a rookie.

Harris will be the third candidate interviewed for the general manager position who has worked for the Baltimore Ravens. The first, New England vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli, was hired by the Kansas City Chiefs Wednesday. Baltimore's director of pro personnel George Kokinis, a close friend of new Browns coach Eric Mangini, interviewed with Lerner Sunday and a source said the two will talk again next week. Harris was hired by the Ravens in 1997 as director of pro personnel and spent six years in the position.

After playing for the legendary Eddie Robinson at Grambling, Harris became the first African-American quarterback in NFL history to open the season as a starting quarterback with the Buffalo Bills. He spent 12 years in the league with the Bills (1969-71), LA Rams (1973-76) and San Diego Chargers (1977-81).

Moving into personnel, Harris worked as a scout for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for five years and as assistant general manager of the New York Jets (1993-96) before being hired in Baltimore.

In an interview with NFL.com in May, Harris described the type of players he covets, which sounds similiar to the traits Mangini mentioned last week.

''That’s what I look for in players, guys who hate to lose, guys who are tough, guys who want to play in the fourth quarter,'' Harris told NFL.com. ''Some guys do their jobs. But there is a difference when you get that player who does his job, plus gives you everything he’s got."

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