Economy Forces Browns to Lay Off Employees

Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn (10) runs under pressure from Buffalo Bills' Terrence McGee (24) during the first quarter of the NFL football game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 17, 2008. (AP Photo/Don Heupel)
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Feeling the pinch because of the country's economic downturn, the Cleveland Browns have laid off more than one dozen people in the past two days.

On Wednesday, the club released a member of their media
relations staff, one of the club's Web site writers, and members of
the operations team. Other layoffs included employees in the legal
and marketing departments.

"It was a very challenging day for the Browns organization and
it's important to acknowledge the contributions of those who are
currently with the Browns, as well as those that are leaving,"
team president Mike Keenan said in an e-mail. "We are not immune
to the current economic climate and in order to ensure that our
business operates in an honest, efficient and realistic manner, we
were faced with extremely difficult decisions."

The Browns are not the only NFL franchise forced to adjust
because of the difficult financial times.

Last month, the league office in New York laid off 150 staff
members and the Washington Redskins - one of pro football's most
valuable franchises - were forced to release 20 employees. Last
year, the Denver Broncos laid off several employees.

Cleveland's layoffs come as the team is in transition after
general manager Phil Savage and coach Romeo Crennel were fired
following a 4-12 season. Both men are still owed millions by owner
Randy Lerner, who gave them both contract extensions after the
Browns went 10-6 in 2007.

Lerner is still in the process of hiring a general manager and
could be close to choosing Baltimore pro personnel director George
Kokinis as his new GM.

Kokinis is the hand-picked choice of new Browns coach Eric
Mangini. The two previously worked together in Cleveland in the
early 1990s and are close friends.

Kokinis' hiring is expected to be announced by the end of the