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News » Browns must wait until Sunday to interview Kokinis

Browns must wait until Sunday to interview Kokinis

Browns must wait until Sunday to interview Kokinis

Get the latest news as the search for a new general manager and head coach continues.


The Browns will have to wait until Sunday to interview Baltimore director of pro personnel George Kokinis for their vacant general manager job.

The question now is whether owner Randy Lerner will hire his preferred coach, Eric Mangini, before then.

Indications grew stronger Monday a deal with Mangini is closer.

The Browns have had discussions with Mangini beyond their formal interview last Tuesday, according to a source close to the Browns' search.

Those talks have continued with the understanding Lerner would complete his search process before closing a deal. The process is on hold, the source indicated.

One of the holdups could be the delay in interviewing Kokinis.

The Browns were granted permission by Baltimore to interview Kokinis under the following restrictions:

The earliest they could talk to him is Sunday.

The Ravens have a divisional round playoff game Saturday at Nashville, Tenn., against the Titans. Baltimore has set aside the following day for interviews for prospective candidates for other jobs. Besides Kokinis, defensive coordinator Rex Ryan has received permission from some clubs to interview for head coach.

The only way Kokinis could leave the Ravens is if the Browns gave him full authority over personnel and the draft - the same responsibilities Phil Savage enjoyed in four years as Browns general manager.

Per NFL rule, every team has to designate one person contractually as the No. 1 Football authority of the club. Kokinis never has had anything close to final say in 18 years as a scout and personnel executive.

If the Browns decide to offer Kokinis the general manager job, Kokinis would not be able to leave the Ravens until they are out of the playoffs. The Ravens could lift this restriction at their discretion, but it's doubtful they would.

So, it's conceivable that Kokinis could not become available to the Browns until Feb. 2 - the day after the Super Bowl, if the Ravens make it that far.

The restrictions are common in these situations and not unique to the division rivalry between the Browns and Ravens. In fact, the Ravens were free to deny permission altogether, but did not.

The only other candidates for Browns GM interviewed by Lerner were Scott Pioli, Patriots vice president of player personnel, and T.J. McCreight, Browns director of player personnel.

Pioli reportedly interviewed Monday with the Kansas City Chiefs for their GM job.

Meanwhile, sources have said Lerner is eager to hire his coach, widely believed to be Mangini. No other NFL team with a head coach vacancy has been linked to Mangini.

Lerner has interviewed three other candidates for head coach, besides Mangini - Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.

Lerner had no interviews on Monday, a club spokesman said.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: tgrossi@plaind.com, 216-999-4670

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 7, 2009

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