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Ravens' Kokinis the leading candidate to be Browns GM

  • By Associated Press
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CLEVELAND -- Baltimore Ravens pro personnel director George Kokinis came to Cleveland on Monday, but not to start working for the Browns.

Kokinis, the leading candidate to be Cleveland's next general manager, met with Browns coach Eric Mangini and team executives but has not been offered the GM position, a person with knowledge of Kokinis' visit told The Associated Press.

Kokinis spent time with Mangini, a long-time friend, and other front-office members at the club's headquarters in Berea, Ohio, but he did not have a second interview with Browns owner Randy Lerner, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the sides are still negotiating.

It's possible Kokinis will meet with Lerner later this week, the person said.

The 41-year-old Kokinis emerged as the front-runner to replace the fired Phil Savage after Mangini expressed a desire to work with him to Lerner during the coach's interview after he was fired by the New York Jets. Kokinis and Mangini started their NFL careers in Cleveland during the 1990s and have remained close.

Lerner took the unusual step of hiring his coach before his top football executive. But he was quickly convinced Mangini was right for the job, and Lerner wants to make sure his coach and GM are a good match, which may be why Kokinis hasn't been hired yet.

It was assumed that once the Ravens were eliminated from the playoffs that Kokinis would immediately take over in Cleveland. While he may still get the job, the Browns are in no rush.

Kokinis attended Sunday's AFC championship game in Pittsburgh, but kept a low profile, staying on the field during warmups and watching the game from the coaches box, perhaps to avoid reporters. He returned to Maryland with the Ravens before arriving in Ohio on Monday afternoon.

Last week, Lerner interviewed James "Shack" Harris, Jacksonville's former vice president of player personnel, for his GM opening. Former New England vice president Scott Pioli, who took over as Kansas City's GM, and Browns director of player personnel T.J. McCreight also had interviews with Lerner.

Kokinis has spent the past six years working alongside Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome. He has been instrumental in Baltimore's success in free agency but has had a limited role in the college draft. A father of three, he began his career in 1991 in Cleveland's team operations department before becoming a scout.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.

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