The Cleveland Browns announced the hiring of Tom Heckert as their general manager this afternoon.
Heckert spent the last nine seasons with the Eagles, including the last four as general manager. What his exact duties will be in the new structure being built by new Browns president Mike Holmgren has not yet been publicly defined.
"I want to thank Randy Lerner and Mike Holmgren for this tremendous opportunity," Heckert said in a statement. "I also want to thank Jeffrey Lurie, Andy Reid and Joe Banner for an outstanding nine-year run with a first-class organization. It was the Eagles who allowed me to climb the NFL personnel ladder, and I am proud of what we were able to accomplish there. I will always have fond memories of my stay in Philadelphia. I am eager to get started with the Browns, a team for which my father worked and that I rooted for growing up.Working alongside some of the most experienced and successful people in this business in Mike [Holmgren], Eric Mangini and Bryan [Wiedmeier, the team's new executive vice president of business], I believe we have the foundation in place to re-establish the Browns as one of the top franchises in the NFL."
Heckert's father, Tom Sr., spent five seasons as the Midwest scout for the Cleveland Browns from 1982-86 as part of a 25-year NFL career that was largely spent with the Miami Dolphins.
Earlier before the move was made official, Eagles coach Andy Reid said, "I will say that if he does get the job at Cleveland he’ll do a great job there. He’s been phenomenal here. He’s been my right hand man in the personnel department."
Asked if he tried to get Heckert to say, Reid said, "I’m not going to get into all that. You guys know how I feel about Tom. Tom is one of my favorite people and I think he’s great at what he does, phenomenal. The things that he’s helped us do here are phenomenal. If it works out at Cleveland, I also know he’s working with one of my best friends and somebody that will allow him, if it comes down to that, to do even more than he was doing here. Opportunities, I’m always looking to help my guys out for opportunities and if that’s the case then I think that’s a great one for him.”
As for the Eagles, the expectation is that Howie Roseman will be promoted to general manager from vice president of player personnel. Roseman has been with the Eagles for 10 years, holding the titles of salary cap/staff counsel, director of football administration and vice president of football administration.
Reid balked at the perception that Roseman is not a football guy, having not come up through the scouting department. According to the Eagles media guide, Roseman "manages the college scouting staff, organizes and runs draft meetings, scouts the top college prospects throughout the country." He also, "plays a large role in assisting Reid and Heckert with unrestricted free agency and roster moves throughout the year."
"I have a tremendous personnel staff and Howie is one of those guys," Reid said. "I have a bunch of guys that have really done a nice job there. I’m not with you on that comment. However, I will tell you, without slighting Howie at all, that he’s done a nice job.”
To read our earlier post about Andy Reid's wrapup news conference, click here.