New Entrant; Savage Exit

In the wake of the Browns 2009 re-boot, the OBR's Senior Bowl and NFL Combine rep, Brent Sobleski, has touched base with NFL sources he's cultivated over the years. And the things he's heard about out-going GM Phil Savage and the exec who may be next in line if Pioli talks break down are well worth noting...

No Pioli? No Problem

What dark horse candidate may rise to the forefront if Browns owner Randy Lerner is unable to reach an agreement with the Patriots' Scott Pioli? In the opinion of one well connected source, Philadelphia Eagles' General Manager Tom Heckert should then become a strong candidate. Much like Pioli, Heckert has plenty of input on team personnel, but lacks final say on all decision making.

 Eagles GM Tom Heckert
The 41-year old talent evaluator has been the head of Philadelphia's player personnel department since being appointed to the General Manager position in 2006. Heckert's career over the past eight seasons with Philadelphia has included holding the titles such as Director of Player Personnel and Vice President of Player Personnel.

Upon Heckert's hiring, when asked of the dynamic he brought to the organization, Head Coach and Executive VP of Football Operations Andy Reid commented, "In the interview, I just felt comfortable with him, felt comfortable with what he knew. I knew he wouldn't be afraid to tell me his honest opinion. I knew it wouldn't matter what the scouts or the coaches said. He was going to give me a straight shot."

Prior to his stint with the Eagles, this Heckert worked within the Miami Dolphins organization where he served one season as their Director of Player Personnel. His NFL scouting career has extended over 17 years.

At this time, it is not known whether or not the Cleveland Browns have reached out and asked permission to speak with Heckert. His name came up briefly during the Browns GM search in 2005. 

A Savage Approach

Last year while at the NFL Combine, a quote overheard about former Browns General Manager Phil Savage really struck a chord, "He carries the Bible in one hand, and a knife in the other."

The Orange and Brown Report has alluded for weeks that there were serious problems within the locker room, especially with how the front office dealt with players on the roster. All this seemed to come to a head during Kellen Winslow's outburst earlier in the season, as well as Savage's own mishandling of an emailing fan. On the surface this was enough reason for team owner Randy Lerner to quickly dispense of the man he had granted complete control over all football operations. There were those around the league which had their doubts well before any of these situations arose.

A source from another franchise recently reiterated the exact sentiments mentioned earlier after the firing of Savage as the Browns Vice President and General Manager. Namely, according to this source, the reputation Savage earned around the league has become one of a "backstabber". There are those in the league who feel Savage's approach to his duties were hypocritical compared to his perceived public persona. Also it was brought up that some around the league never saw Savage as anything more than a glorified scout from the onset. As the source pointed out, "What has Phil Savage ever won or done to deserve a GM position?"

While it certainly seems Phil Savage came to the Browns and added talent to the roster, he did not make many friends along the way. Now he is out as the man in charge, and he might not be welcomed to all franchises with open arms.



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