The 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.”