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General Manager Candidates

THE SHORT LIST
Executives believed to be at the top of the Browns list
Odds were set at the beginning of the process
Name: Phil Savage
Job: Director of Player Personnel Team: Baltimore Ravens
Odds: 3-2 / Front-runner

Status: Interviewed with Browns (1/3), Follow-up to Cleveland (1/5)

Background: Has been in charge of player evaluation for the Ravens successful college drafts since 1996. Has expressed interest in the Browns job and would not require compensation to Ravens as GM job in Cleveland would be a promotion. Was member of Bill Belichick's staff in Cleveland and considered a strong candidate for past GM openings in Chicago, Miami and Jacksonville.

Name: Tom Heckert
Job: VP, Player Personnel Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Odds: 5-1

Status: Has reportedly removed himself from consideration

Background: Young (37) exec who got into the business at just 23 years of ago. Spent a decade with the Dolphins during the Don Shula and Jimmy Johnson eras, and has spent the last four years with the Eagles, helping that team maintain a high level of play throughout his tenure. Manages both the college and pro sides of player evaluation for the Eagles.

Name: Tim Ruskell
Job: Assistant General Manager Team: Atlanta Falcons
Odds
: 10-1

Status: Has reportedly removed himself from consideration

Background: Ruskell's keen eye for talent available in the lower rounds of the draft helped keep the Tampa Bay Buccaneers near the top of the NFL for years. Ruskell was the man behind the selection of players like Warren Sapp, John Lynch, Mike Alstott, and Derrick Brooks. Ruskell led both the college and pro scouting departments while in Tampa. In 2004, Ruskell went to Atlanta as an Assistant GM. 

Name: Ozzie Newsome 
Job
: General Manager Team: Baltimore Ravens
Odds: 15-1

Status: Ravens owner Steven Bisciotti has refused permission to speak to Browns

Background: Hall of Fame athlete with the Browns and one of the best tight ends in history. Moved with Ravens to Baltimore, moving steadily up the ladder to GM. Player selections have helped Baltimore win the 2000 Super Bowl and remain competitive in years since. Moving to the Browns as a GM would be a lateral move for Newsome. The Ravens do not have to let Newsome out of his contract to jump to the Browns, and will want compensation.

CONDITIONAL SHORT LIST
Executives would be immediate short-list candidates, if....
Name: Scott Pioli
Job: Vice President / Player Personnel Team: New England Patriots

Status: Mutual interest, Patriots have thrown up roadblocks to interviewing

Background: Young, fast-rising executive known to be of interest to the Browns, but has expressed a desire to honor his contract to the Patriots through 2006. Has a very close relationship with Patriots coaches and owner. Was member of Bill Belichick's staff in Cleveland.

Name: Floyd Reese
Job: General Manager  Team: Tennessee Titans

Status: Titans owner Bud Adams has refused teams permission to speak with Reese

Background: Reese has guided to an extended period of success, albeit one without a Super Bowl. Reese might be available as rumors that he might leave the Titans club at the end of the season, although Reese has denied these rumors. Reese brings an impeccable resume and would have to be considered if he leaves Tennessee, but is currently not available.

ALSO POSSIBLY GETTING CONSIDERATION
Other executives who merit consideration and may be of interest to the Browns
Name: Randy Mueller
Job: ESPN Analyst Team: (former) New Orleans Saints
Odds: 15-1

Background: Currently with ESPN, the former GM of the Saints has been pitching himself to the Browns as a potential GM, perhaps in tandem with ex-Seahawk CFO Mike Reinhardt. Mueller spent nearly two decades with the Seahawks organization before being ousted by Mike Holmgren. Named the NFL Executive of the Year in 2000 for his job rebuilding the Saints, Mueller was inexplicably fired by Saints owner Tom Benson in 2002.

Name: Mike Reinfeldt
Job: Senior VP (capologist) Team: (former) Seattle Seahawks
Odds: 15-1

Background: "Capologist" who left the Seattle Seahawks after the 2003 season, and who has worked largely on the financial and administrative side of the NFL business with the Packers and Seahawks. Reinfeldt was also a standout NFL defensive back, but hasn't spent much time on the player evaluation side. Might be paired with a strong personnel evaluator and rumors have been heard that Randy Mueller and Reinfeldt are being pitched as a possible team in Cleveland.

Name: Tom Modrak
Job: Assistant General Manager Team: Buffalo Bills
Odds: 15-1

Background: Modrak brings to bear 27 years of experience in the Steelers, Eagles, and Bills organizations. Starting with the Steelers, and staying with them for nearly two decades, Modrak played a key role in orchestrating drafts and acquisitions which kept the Steelers in contention during his time there. Modrak moved to the Eagles, where his selection of Donavan McNabb helped turn that franchise around. Since losing a power struggle at the Eagles, Modrak has been with the Bills since 2001.  

Name: Ron Hill
Job: VP, Player Personnel Team: Atlanta Falcons
Odds: 15-1

Background:  Ron Hill brought life to a moribund franchise when he engineered the trade for Michael Vick in 2001, and now has overseen drafts that once more have the Falcons in playoff contention. Signing and re-signing players like Patrick Kearney, Peerless Price, and Keith Brooking have cemented Hill's reputation as a canny evaluator of talent. Promoted to his current position in 2004 after six years as VP of Football Operations.

Name: Ted Thompson
Job: Vice President / Football Operations Team: Seattle Seahawks
Odds
: 15-1

Background:  Browns fans have often pointed to Steve Hutchinson as a draft choice that slipped through the team's fingers. Thompson is the man who nabbed him for the Seahawks, and has also brought in players like Shaun Alexander, Darrell Jackson, and Marcus Trufant. Thompson has over a decade of front office experience with the Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers.

Name: Kevin Colbert
Job: Director of Football Operations Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Odds: 20-1

Background:  What better way to replace Butch Davis than to look to the team that beat him eight times out of nine during his tenure? With the Steelers an AFC surprise in 2004, Kevin Colbert may get several calls this off-season. Colbert shares power with Bill Cowher and Mike Hart on the business side, and might be the "team player" the team wants.

Name: Bill Kuharich
Job: Vice President of Pro Personnel Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Odds: 20-1

Background: Despite the Chiefs disappointing 2004 season, head coach Dick Vermiel gives Kuharich a lot of credit for the Chiefs improved competitiveness in recent years. Kuharich led the acquisition of players like Priest Holmes, Willie Roaf, Johnnie Morton and more. Prior to his job with the Chiefs, Kuharich worked with Mike Ditka in New Orleans before being fired by Saints owner Tom Benson in 1999. Some argue that Kuharich was really the brains behind the Saints revival in 2000.  

Name: Bobby Grier
Job: Asst Director of Scouting  Team: Houston Texans
Odds: 30-1

Background: Grier came up through the Patriots organization, where he spent nearly two decades, the last four as Vice President of Player/Personnel. Relieved when Bill Belichick took over the team, Grier has been working with the Houston Texans as Associate Director of College Scouting since 2000.

 

Name: Charles Bailey
Job: Pro Personnel Director  Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Status: Interviewed with Browns on 1/3. Receiving interest from the 49ers.

Background: Worked for fourteen years in the New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers organizations before joining the Jaguars in 2003. Spearheaded the Jaguars eight free agent signings which helped to return the team to respectability last season. Had eight years of scouting experience with an independent organization before spending a decade with the Steelers. Spent three years with Saints, including time as Asst. GM. 

Name: Ted Sundquist
Job
: General Manager  Team: Denver Broncos

Status: Rumored interest by the Browns. No interview.

Background: Member of the Broncos organization for over a decade, and GM the last three years. Started in 1993 as a college and NFL scout, moving quickly up through the organization. Mike Shanahan is the #1 football decision maker in Denver, making the Browns position potentially attractive. Played football for Air Force and served several years.