Cleveland Situation Gets Uglier

How bad are things in Cleveland right now? The owner is meeting with fans to get their opinions and the head coach is in denial. At the center of the firestorm is coach Eric Mangini. After parting ways with first year GM George Kokinis Monday, Mangini told reporters Tuesday that he wasn't going to talk about it. The whole situation has Browns fans wondering if Al Davis has relatives in Ohio.

Just when it appeared the Oakland Raiders had solidified their stranglehold on the title of the NFL's most dysfunctional franchise, a new contender has appeared: the Cleveland Browns.

Browns general manager George Kokinis was fired Monday amid unexplained circumstances, and the story only grew stranger the next day.

Coach Eric Mangini, Kokinis' long-time friend who had selected Kokinis to be his boss, wouldn't say why the GM had been ousted. And he refused to say why he wouldn't say why the GM had been ousted.

"I can tell you that for a variety of reasons things didn't work out," said Mangini, whose relationship with the players has come under fire. "You never go into a situation like this with the intention of it not working out.

"We felt that, organizationally, this was the best decision in order to move forward."

It was a speech cribbed right out of the Raiders' organizational playbook.

Amid the front office shakeup, Browns owner Randy Lerner held a two-hour meeting with season-ticket holders. Cleveland's rapid fan base is disgruntled over the team's 1-7 start under Mangini and over an ugly offense that has seen both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson struggle at quarterback.

At least things won't get any worse for the Browns this weekend. Mercifully, Cleveland has a bye. But the Browns won't be able to hide their flaws when they return to action. Their next game is scheduled for Nov. 16 -- on a Monday night against the Ravens.

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