Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Grossi
Fired Browns GM Tom Heckert said Monday morning it would be “phenomenal” to rejoin friend Andy Reid with another team, and he thinks it’s “a possibility.”
“We’ll see. There’s a lot going on,” Heckert told ESPNCleveland.
Heckert and Browns coach Pat Shurmur each was fired in separate meetings with owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner. Reid was fired Monday morning in Philadelphia as Eagles coach. Reid and Heckert worked together for nine years in Philadelphia and consider each other good friends.
Heckert was not surprised by his dismissal. He said he anticipated it the day Banner joined Haslam in July to pursue ownership of the Browns.
“Once the team was sold, I thought it was going to happen,” Heckert said. “Obviously, the final say (on football matters) was a problem and this was going to happen. It’s probably the best for both of us (to part ways).”
Heckert was hired as Browns GM three years ago by former President Mike Holmgren. In that time the Browns have gone 5-11, 4-12 and 5-11. Shurmur was coach for the last two seasons of 4-12 and 5-11.
But Heckert believes the future is bright for the team loaded up with young players.
“The difference between us and the Colts is the Colts won the close games and we didn,” Heckert said. “We’ve proved we can play with anybody. I think the outlook is awesome.”
Asked if he believed the outlook would remain “awesome” with the prospective changes coming to the Browns football operations, Heckert paused.
“Good question. I don’t know,” he said.
In a prepared statement, Haslam said, "We felt that these moves were in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns and our future. I enjoyed getting to know Tom and Pat over the past several months, and want to thank them, not just for their contributions to the Browns, but also the insight they were able to provide. They are both fine men and hpe they have the best of success as they move forward with their careers."
Banner said, "This decision was not an easy one because of my relationship with Tom and Pat and the fact that they are both quality people. Ultimately our objective is to put together an organization that will be the best at everything we do. On the field, our only goal is trying to win championships. I have a great deal of respect for Tom and Pat, and I want to wish them and their faimilies nothing but the best."
Haslam and Banner will meet with the media at 11:30 to explain their moves.
Both Heckert and Shurmur will meet with players before leaving the team's facility for the final time.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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