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Lerner: "I still believe in Eric"

Mike Florio wrote earlier Thursday that Browns owner Randy Lerner needs to come clean about what led to G.M. George Kokinis’ dismissal or not talk at all.

Unlike Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache, Lerner apparently doesn’t read PFT,  because he’s still talking, but only hinting at what happened to Kokinis.  In a conversation with SI’s Peter King, Lerner denies firing Kokinis. 

“George is no longer active within our organization, but at this time has not been fired,” Lerner said.

The Browns owner reportedly isn’t commenting further because the team is expected to attempt to cancel the rest of Kokinis’ contract “for cause” because he wasn’t doing his job.  King credits a source that says Kokinis never tried to “exert his authority” despite pleas from “higher ups” for the G.M. to take a stronger role in team affairs.  Kokinis is expected to contend that he was never given the final authority over the team’s roster that was promised. 

The next step for Lerner is figuring out if Mangini could truly handle someone above him running the team’s personnel.  And if not, does Mangini have a future in Cleveland?

“I still believe in Eric, and we’re trying to give him the resources he
needs to be successful. We all knew the situation we were in when Eric
took over,” Lerner said.

And now the rest of the country can see that Mangini has taken a bad situation, and made it embarrassingly worse.

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40 Responses to “Lerner: "I still believe in Eric"”
  1. Xpensive Wino says: Nov 5, 2009 10:09 PM

    Unfortunately for Browns fans, it would appear as though Randy Lerner has taken to heart every aspect of the video “How To Pile Drive A Football Franchise Into Oblivion And Have Everyone Think You’re A Moron In The Process” that was written, produced, directed and starred William Clay Ford.
    And for the record, “I still believe in Rod Marinelli.”

  2. oldschool says: Nov 5, 2009 10:17 PM

    As well as the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny,Santa clause , the great pumpkin, the sand man, the lucky charms leprechaun, the keebler elves, the man on the moon, the wizard of oz, batman, superman, the green hornet , the green lantern,spider man, underdog, wonder woman and the Fonz.

  3. B_radC says: Nov 5, 2009 10:20 PM

    His heart is in the right place. It just sucks that someone who tries so hard is failing so horribly

  4. BAGGERVANCE,legend of says: Nov 5, 2009 10:26 PM

    wtf??
    only one man could save this franchise, BILL PARCELLS.
    Lerners not a bad guy hes just listening to the wrong people.

  5. prophet of the light says: Nov 5, 2009 10:41 PM

    It’s too bad no one else does.

  6. damgenius says: Nov 5, 2009 10:47 PM

    Granted I am not a Browns fan or a Mangini fan, but I would be willing to give Mangini the benefit of the doubt, as possibly it WAS Kokinis who was the problem.

  7. Browns314 says: Nov 5, 2009 10:57 PM

    Firing Mangini right now will make no difference in the outcome of the year. Why not get a real GM in place and let him decide whether he wants to keep Mangini after the season ends.

  8. TFBuckFutter says: Nov 5, 2009 11:00 PM

    I don’t blame Lerner for not wanting to eat 3 years and $9 million of Mangina’s contract.
    But at the same time, I can’t feel bad for someone dumb enough to offer it.
    I do, however, feel very bad for Browns fans, who strike me as being very loyal and humble.
    I wish there was a way for Lerner to be punished for being an idiot, and the Browns fans to be rewarded for their loyalty. Unfortunately, they are stuck with the bitchtitted dumbass at coach for the next 2 years at least.

  9. FumbleNuts says: Nov 5, 2009 11:02 PM

    Lerner: “I still believe in Eric”
    Ok bud………….. And I still believe in “Santa Clause.”
    Doesn’t mean I’m getting anything for Christmas.

  10. phins says: Nov 5, 2009 11:16 PM

    I just want Mangini to be fired so that he will stop trading good players to the Jets in exchange for “great special teamers”

  11. russrpm says: Nov 5, 2009 11:27 PM

    What sane person who is qualified to be a GM in the NFL would take the job as long as Mangini is there? Anyone strong enough to do the job will inevitably clash with him from day one. And if Lerner is not going to hire a strong GM, then he might as well hire no one, and let Mangini finish the demolition.

  12. TFBuckFutter says: Nov 5, 2009 11:29 PM

    You guys know what?
    Herm Edwards was actually more successful than Eric Mangini at coaching the Jets.
    .488 win percentage, 2-3 in the playoffs vs
    .479 win percentage, 0-1 in the playoffs.
    I bet he could have gotten $15 million out of Lerner.
    And if Mangini performs in the second half the same as he has in the first half, he will drop below Edwards in career win percentage too (currently .429 to .422 he’ll actually drop below him with 2 more losses).

  13. Farves sweet Hair says: Nov 5, 2009 11:54 PM

    Who’s the bigger loser?
    A. Lerner
    A. Manturd

  14. daffy87 says: Nov 6, 2009 12:08 AM

    I believe in Eric Mangini. He is indeed a control freak which is why I think it is important for him to be involved in the process of hiring a GM. I think Mangini is a good coach he just needs time. The Cleveland Browns lack talent…period. The only player he traded away who you can fairly criticize him over is K2. Edwards was gone after 2009 as a free agent so that trade was smart. Point is Mangini took over a 4-12 team with very very little talent. He saw this and basically hit the reset button…tear it down to the floor…compile draft picks….and start bringing in talent via the draft. The Browns have holes everywhere on both sides of the ball so anyone saying Mangini cant coach just check the depth chart….Vince Lombardi himself couldn’t win 5 games with this roster. It’s going to take a couple draft classes to inject this team with talent….patience is the key. Mangini in New York built up the Jets offensive line and got them some good runningbacks Thomas Jones and Leon Washington, and that is still the strength of that team today. He knows how to build and win, it’s just simply a long process….shame on you Florio for making him out as the devil….he’s alright people just need to relax.

  15. RetiredArmy1 says: Nov 6, 2009 1:17 AM

    daffy Is your real name really Eric? Cause not many could post something like this, or agree with you…

  16. WCRaider says: Nov 6, 2009 1:28 AM

    “George is no longer active within our organization, but at this time has not been fired,” Lerner said.
    This translates to “George has a buyout clause in his contract that will cost me way more money that it will cost just to keep his name on the organizational chart and pay his salary.”

  17. chapnasty says: Nov 6, 2009 6:16 AM

    Mangini’s parents dont even believe in him

  18. Steelerfan says: Nov 6, 2009 7:27 AM

    As a Steeler fan, I have an opposing view of the situation in Cleveland, I think that the situation in Cleveland is fine and under control and Browns fans need to give Mangini 10-15 years to work his magic and he can always count on Steelers fans for support of his fine efforts to date.

  19. Dinger says: Nov 6, 2009 7:28 AM

    One large difference between his Jets’ tenure and his current one with the Browns is that now he appears to have near total control of personnel selection. His first draft is full of question marks with no definitive slam dunk star. I appreciate the fact that it takes time before one can accurately rate a draft but that’s pitiful when he had the 5th pick overall particularly with so many holes to fill on both sides of the ball. Two middling receivers and the 4th linebacker from USCs LB corp last year. We shall see but nothing he’s done portends a successful resolution to a bad situation.

  20. Terry says: Nov 6, 2009 7:41 AM

    Ya have to give Mangini credit; he’s got Lerner compleatly “conned”!!!

  21. nohio says: Nov 6, 2009 7:50 AM

    I believe that we the Browns have an owner with deep pockets and who is easily fooled by anyone with a half a–ed line of sh-t. The Browns are on the roller coater of death. Can’t wait until those 4 out of 5 home games to end the season. Will be out drawn by an NHL preseason game.

  22. DriveFumbleBumble says: Nov 6, 2009 8:15 AM

    Whenever the best coaches and GMs are asked what they are looking for in players they ALL to a man say: DYNAMIC PLAYMAKERS. Mangini? This idiot says: high motor, passionate, smart character guys. Considering how he shat the bed with the 2009 draft and considering that it being Cleveland vs say Miami or New Orleans…we are always going to struggle to get top free agents to come to Cleveland just in terms of weather and nightlife (team aside)…we HAVE TO NOT FUQ UP OUR DRAFTS. EVER. The doughboy is too weaknutted to coach dynamic playmakers who have egos so he’s willing to settle for Mr. 4.0 nice guy who’s just a special teamer on his best day from East West Nebraska State and grab every team’s over the hill mofo who will do whatever he wants so they can get paychecks no one else would give them and field a team that way. Tell me…how the hell do we compete, with um…ANYBODY…with this idgit’s philosophies? And I could spend all day talking about this fool’s COMPLETE INABILITY to assess talent. (See 2009 draft and quarterback controversy aka Scrub Bowl 09). And do we REALLY want a coach who is SO insecure that he would take this team with all its little to no talent and hire some scrub OC just to have job security? No, Mangini is too busy trying to keep his job, to do his job.

  23. JohnC says: Nov 6, 2009 8:24 AM

    Here in Cleveland Lerner avoided the press and media. Two fans are organizing a “Brown Out”, which is a call for the fans who have tickets for Nov. 16 to stay away from their seats on opening kick-off.
    At the Chicago game last Sunday Lerner was on the sidelines. He noticed these fans and had a meeting with them yesterday. I’m very happy that he appears to be coming out of his shell and talking with the fans. Of course he’s not going to get rid of Mangini right now. He’s still paying Romeo’s contract. He doesn’t feel that eight games is fair enough time to give Mangini, and I agree. However I do think that Mangini has really alienated the players. I don’t think they want to play for him.
    I do think that Lerner will hire a GM and if that GM does want a new coach that will happen, unless Mangini can prove himself over the rest of the season. It’s one thhing to lose all these games, but there really doesn’t seem to be much of an effort.

  24. kenyatta says: Nov 6, 2009 8:24 AM

    DO YOU REALLY WANT US TO BELIEVE YOU HAVE FAITH IN IN MANGINI,COME ON IM NOT THAT DUMB,you know if you fire him u will be paying him and a slew of other people for sitting home doing nothing

  25. Duan says: Nov 6, 2009 8:27 AM

    @ daffy87
    Hey, you make an objective point, smart and well thought out.
    But this is my only but to your argument, this fella took a bad team and mad it worse. Period! I probably would have dumped Edwards as well. I don’t think they drafted well, besides Alex Mack – big center and he is learning. Coye Francis showed heart in pre-season but we haven’t heard from him since. James Davis is out for the season, so we don’t know what he is capable of.
    You want to see some apptitude from the players on Sundays. They didn’t set Quinn up for any kind of success, you can tell by the formation packages they had in the game when he was under center.
    While with Anderson you would see 4 wide sets?
    So what you are saying is fair and objective – but patience is something no coach will have in Cleveland, for a long time! The time is now, 11 years in and its same ol’ same ol’. What makes it so bad, the fans just want to see people make plays, not win games, but make plays. 10yd bursts on running plays, 8yd out sideline passes, simple pass plays for completions!
    It’s not happening.
    4 years ago, I would have agreed, but this guy took a bad team and made them worse. Sorry, but thanks for trying.

  26. saturn111 says: Nov 6, 2009 8:51 AM

    This story is even funnier because one of the fans who met with Randy Lerner earlier this week was on ESPN radio yesterday morning claiming that Lerner all but promised him he’d let Man-genius go at the end of the season.
    to JohnC, who says “I’m very happy that he appears to be coming out of his shell and talking with the fans.”
    Talking with the fans is great. But listening to them for suggestions on how to run a team is not so great.
    What a mess…

  27. wingnut56 says: Nov 6, 2009 9:32 AM

    Remember Lerner “Chose” Mangini – he just agreed to hire Kokinis. Firing Kokinis allows Randy to blame someone for the mess that they are in without him admitting that he made a mistake by hiring Mangini.
    I get the feeling that the only reason that Randy is doing anything with the team right now is the fact that there may have been some pressure from the NFL to do something to silence the critics. The Browns have become the punch line for every bad football team joke this year – and they desrve it. It’s no longer just the local media ripping on the Browns. Every week another network analyst calls out Mangini demanding his firing. So Lerner backs up his pick with this vote of confidence.
    Lerner has done nothing to date to prove that he cares for the team or the fans. His meeting with the two protest organizers was a PR stunt and held behind closed doors. It’s time for Randy to address the media, or hire a mouthpiece that will. This “super secret” crap that Mangini and Lerner seem to love so much is waring pretty thin.

  28. Kage10 says: Nov 6, 2009 9:41 AM

    The Browns MAY have little talent, BUT a GOOD coach manage a team to some damn TOUCHDOWNS and more than six points a game. A GOOD coach could give a team a chance to win. There is NO way ANY team in the NFL should suck so bad. If they do, it’s the coach. These are professional football players. It’s not like they are drafting DIII players or players out of high school. Quit giving Mangini the benefit of the doubt. Even Romeo led the team to a few wins. Get rid of the “bitchtitted dumbass”! HAHAHA

  29. The Coop says: Nov 6, 2009 9:46 AM

    saturn, you need your ears checked. i listened to the same interview and nothing was said that was even close to what you claim was said.

  30. urbusted says: Nov 6, 2009 9:59 AM

    Hey Steelersfan, 10-15 years means something much different in steelers land doesn’t it? The only question is consecutive or concurrent?

  31. Duan says: Nov 6, 2009 10:03 AM

    @ saturn111
    Timeout, the fans are the customers!
    If you went into Best Buy, do you want good customer service, do you want to be heard?
    Or would you rather be ignored and told you don’t know what you are talking about!?
    It may seem like I comparing apples to oranges, but customer service is customer service. This football team is jacked up and it’s jacked up real bad. They are 1 and 7. The one win they did have was as ugly as it gets.
    As a loyal customer and fan, I don’t like the product I am being sold right now. Period! They need to fix it and when I mean fix it, I mean by any means necessary!
    I am glad he did take the time to listen to some people who are adding to the payroll.

  32. meezle says: Nov 6, 2009 10:05 AM

    Speaking of Brady Quinn, is there a possibility that Quinn is not playing because he use to play for Weis? Has anyone ever brought that up? I haven’t seen any Cleveland games, is he really that bad? Was there bad blood between Mangini and Weis? From what I’ve seen, it seems Mangini is pretty petty so he might do something like that…
    Just a thought

  33. kravon says: Nov 6, 2009 10:23 AM

    Perhaps he should hire Charlie Weis as head coach and then have Crennel be o-coordinator and Mangini d-coordinator.
    Sounds like a winning formula to me.
    Buzz.

  34. Tampa...Bay...Bucs says: Nov 6, 2009 10:35 AM

    This guy is crazy!!! Worst coach in NFL history

  35. Pastabelly says: Nov 6, 2009 11:06 AM

    What has Mangini done anywhere to justify anybody’s faith in him? His two biggest decisions were (1) bringing in kokinis as his puppet and (2) trading the pick that would have delivered him Sanchez as his starting QB. Good going Eric.

  36. birdmancometh says: Nov 6, 2009 11:37 AM

    No Tampa, I suffered through Rich Kotite…trust me when I say Mangini is 100 times better.
    Also, i’m sure Giants fans would have something to say about Ray Handley.

  37. callmecougar says: Nov 6, 2009 11:47 AM

    The John Henry Williams called, he wants his ability to destroy a family name back.

  38. daffy87 says: Nov 6, 2009 12:06 PM

    @Duan – I understand why everyone is against him. I’m just saying it took 10 years to build this mess in Cleveland, it’s going to take a heck of a lot longer than one year to fix it. Mangini took over a 4-12 team and yeah he tore the roster down to the ground floor in exchange for draft picks. I think it’s smart. Since 1999 the Browns have only had one solid, consistent “blue chip” 1st round pick and that was Joe Thomas. They have easily been the worst drafting team since 1999 which is why they continue to stink. I think we’re seeing 10 years of frustration from the fans being laid on the shoulders of the new guy. I loved the Alex Mack pick, I really like Massaquoi, Robiskie hasn’t seen the field much which is odd, same with Francies (why not play Coye….McDonald is the worst starting CB in the league easily). Im not defendning every decision Mangini has made by any means. I’m just saying he walked into a crap-fest and he’s doing the smart thing….hit the reset button….tear it down to the foundation, accumulate draft picks, and start getting young talent on the roster.

  39. JoeSixPack says: Nov 6, 2009 1:45 PM

    Greeeaaattt… so the problem isn’t the moves that Kokinis made or the moves that Mangini made, or the coaching and leadership moves that Mangini made… or the 1-6 record of the team (thanks to the Bills)
    It’s that Kokinis wasn’t preventing Mangini from being GM??
    I do understand why they fired him then… but I don’t understand why Mangini still has a job.

  40. saturn111 says: Nov 6, 2009 2:54 PM

    @ The Coop, who says to me “you need your ears checked. i listened to the same interview and nothing was said that was even close to what you claim was said.”
    Uhh…here’s the interview.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espnradio/player?context=podcast&id=4621836
    Go to 4:28
    Dawg Pound Mike says that Lerner told him that “every coach deserves a year.” Then Randall says that this “makes [Randall] believe that if this [Mangini] doesn’t imrpove this team, he’s gonna be gone.”
    Don’t YOU think that means that Dawg Pound Mike went on the air and claimed, for all the world to hear, that Lerner all but promised him he’d let Man-genius go at the end of the season?
    I do.
    @Duam…
    Please. It’s a widely held belief that listening to the fans is a coach’s / owner’s downfall.
    You don’t pay to have a say, you pay to watch the games.

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