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Ernie Accorsi recommends Kokinis


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The former Browns executive -- now retired after building the New York Giants championship team -- served as a consultant for the Falcons last year when owner Arthur Blank went looking to rebuild his football operation.


"My three recommendations were Dimitroff, Tom Heckert and Kokinis," Accorsi said. "Blank really loved Dimitroff and hired him before interviewing Kokinis."


It turns out that Accorsi -- and not Belichick -- was the man responsible for bringing Kokinis to Cleveland in 1991. Kokinis had been a baseball graduate assistant at University of Richmond when Accorsi's godson played for the team. Accorsi gave Kokinis an entry level job in the Browns' operations department. After Accorsi left the following year, Belichick took Kokinis under his large wing.


"Everybody fell in love with him," Accorsi said of Kokinis, who was 24 at the time. "Hard worker, smart, a great kid. Now, over the years, I'd lost touch with him. But through my scouts [with the Giants], I got to know of him well. I'd ask about him all the time, and everybody liked him. Ozzie was really high on him."


Accorsi debunks the theory that a general manager is best qualified coming through the scouting ranks, since the draft is the lifeblood of the NFL.


"Number one, I think he did plenty of college scouting," Accorsi said. "Number two, [former NFL executive and Hall of Famer] Jim Finks always told me that for the GM job, it's more important to have a pro personnel background.


"His reasoning was you always have time to prepare for the draft. What's more important is to know the league, not only the players but what it takes to play in the league. The NFL game changes, positions change. The coaches know the league and the pro personnel guys know the league. A lot of the college scouts, they don't see the NFL games much.


"Listen, it's the person that matters, but you're better off being a pro guy because you're going to know the league. You can always get ready for the draft. Finks would preach, 'Look at pro tape, look at pro tape.'"


Newsome said he would not even entertain questions about Kokinis while he is going through the Browns' interview process.


Another NFL team executive summed up Kokinis this way: "He's a real good guy and works 24 hours a day. He's one of those guys that sleeps in the office."


Accorsi thinks Kokinis is ready to make the jump.


"The more research I did, the more I was convinced of it," Accorsi said. "He works like hell. He's a great guy. But you never know. These jobs can change people because the pressure and scrutiny is so great."



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