Continuing the front office turnover which has marked the 2004 off-season, it appears that Browns VP Lal Heneghan has left the organization. No replacement has been named by the club.
Reports of Heneghan's exit have appeared on both the Internet and local radio, and team sources have suggested to us that Heneghan has indeed left. Official confirmation may take longer, as we have also been informed that the Browns are not planning to provide an official press release regarding the move.
It was less than a year ago that Heneghan was promoted to his current role, which the team listed as Vice President, Football Operations & General Counsel. In less-corporate parlance, Heneghan was the team's salary cap expert and chief contract negotiator.
Heneghan was extraordinarily well-qualified for his role with the Browns, which also included overseeing the team's legal functions. Prior to joining the Browns, Heneghan had spent seven years with the NFL's Management Council, where he was in charge of assuring compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and salary cap rules. Heneghan was involved in helping to negotiate the CBA with the NFL Players Association back in 1993.
Prior to this off-season's events, Heneghan was considered a rising star within NFL circles, and it was speculated that he would step up to play a larger role if Policy left. When Policy resigned earlier this year, however, he was replaced by John Collins, an import from the NFL's New York offices. Once again it was assumed that Collins would learn some of the art of player negotiations and salary cap management from Heneghan.
At present, there has been no explanation for Heneghan's exit from the club.
UPDATE (5/14): We have been informed on Friday morning, via a source in position to know, that Lal Heneghan does in fact report through to Butch Davis in the new organization and that Davis did fire him. Yesterday, we reported that Heneghan reported up through Collins, which is incorrect. We regret the mistake.