Browns Front Office Moves – Keenan, Aponte (?) Out – UPDATED

cleveland_browns_helmet-logoThe Cleveland Football Browns have parted ways with Mike Keenan and contract negotiator extraordinaire Dawn Aponte, as reported by Tony Grossi at The Plain Dealer. Keenan was with the team since 2006 and was appointed Team President in 2008 (and was subsequently replaced by Mike Holmgren this month). This is the highest-level firing since the introduction of new regime, and per Grossi it was solidified when the Browns brought in Bryan Weidmeier from the Miami Dolphins to run the business aspect of the team.

Aponte has been acting as “de facto GM” since the firing of GM George Kokinis, according to Mike Florio. She has been in the news as of late during the public posturing by Josh Cribbs and his agent during contract negotiations.

The Browns also have cut their pro scouting personnel – the entire four-man staff being replaced in the organization by GM Tom Heckert.  The OBR reported this week that the Browns will likely welcome members from the Seattle Seahawks as well as the Philadelphia Eagles front offices as they look to fill out their now-vacant positions.

While not hugely surprising, these moves are assuredly important and reflect the change at the top in the organization. We will most assuredly be keeping an eye on who replaces them (though with a new organizational scheme, their former positions may not be required), and how this will of course impact the Joshua Cribbs negotiations, in addition to other team moves.

UPDATE: 9:45 PM  – Grossi is now reneging on his earlier claim that Aponte is out.

In what would amount to the first trade of the Mike Holmgren administration, the Browns and Miami Dolphins are contemplating swapping salary cap specialists, according to a league source… If it works out, Dawn Aponte would leave the Browns to join the Dolphins, said the source. She would be replaced by Matt Thomas, a vice president of football administration of the Dolphins.”

  • Kunal

    its about time Aponte got fired, she needed to go

  • MrCleaveland

    Senora Aponte, vamos! Pronto! No permittar la puerta pegar su derriero via expulso!

  • Craig

    Dawn Aponte must be good though… hired by the Dolphins already, FWIW…

  • MrCleaveland


    So in effect we traded Aponte for Weidemeier. Hope we didn’t have to throw in any draft picks.

  • Scott

    Lawyer, held in high regard, been in the league for a long time. However, she was a Mangini/Kokinis hire and that wasn’t going to fly with Big Mike in charge…

  • Saggy

    Dawn Aponte, quota hire.

  • Mark

    Saggy – Really? You know this how? Somehow I must have missed the big push to include women in the NFL management ranks.

  • boogeyman

    Oh no Red Dawn Aponte is gone what will the Browns do now…I know Josh Cribbs and his crew are probably happy now. Kind of funny she already has a new job with Miami considering we got one of their people but hey I like that trade so lets H&H (Holmgren and Heckert) can get us some players like front office people! I like it!

  • boogeyman

    Btw isn’t Mike Keenan a hockey coach? This explains alot! 😉


    In any organizational transition, people come and people go. Departures are more often not linked to job performance but to a restructuring around individuals familiar to the top people. Reporting on these changes is appropriate, and naturally, discussion usually follows. But why is necessary to hurl uninformed criticism at those leaving? Maybe just to see your name on a post?

    If the “she’s got to go” feeling is based on the Cribbs negotiation, keep in mind that the offer was made AFTER Holmgren accepted the job, meaning he most assuredly was aware of the terms. If you have other reasons for your vitriol, either cite them or shut up!

  • BisonDeleSightings

    Mike Heckert is the greatest.

  • Rison to the top

    Sounds like nikko has a thing for dawn. Also the browns are moving in the right direction. Keep it up holms

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Even though he was surely involved in the original offer, I hope this can serve as a chance to push the “reset button” on the Josh Cribbs situation. Even though they have the leverage, Holmgren and Heckert need to get this handled soon, or it’s going to hang over them the entire offseason and be a distraction to the team and front office. If the offer stands and Cribbs is traded, I am concerned about the message it sends to other players. If the Browns don’t take care of a home-grown, all-pro caliber player who loves to play in Cleveland and the fans love him, who are they going to take care of? What will it take for a player to be “rewarded” in Cleveland?

    I really think they will work something out, but if they don’t it could cause problems down the road…

  • Denny

    “Home grown” = from NE DC. Cribbs isn’t exactly LeBron. Just sayin’.

  • EZ

    I think “home grown” in this sense is that the Browns drafted him and he developed his talent with this club.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    EZ – that is what I was referring to. “Home grown” alludes to his playing college ball at Kent and playing his entire career to this point in Cleveland.


    Lest a hair go unsplit, Cribbs was not drafted by anyone…he came to the Browns as an undrafted free agent. The significance of this is that such roster spots are seldom the path to true stardom, but the Browns were nonetheless willing to extend a long term contract and Cribbs was willing to accept same. Not saying he doesn’t deserve a better deal now that he has shown his true worth…just shining a bit of light on the team’s bargaining position.

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