Butch Davis appears to gain power

Updated: May 13, 2004, 3:08 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The Browns' management shakeup continued Thursday with the dismissal of Lal Heneghan, Cleveland's vice president of football operations/general counsel, in a move that stunned many NFL observers.

Although the Browns are not expected to formally announce the move, team and league sources confirmed Heneghan's departure to ESPN.com. There was no hint that Heneghan was under scrutiny, since he was scheduled to attend an upcoming league meeting.

His departure is the latest in a series of moves reshaping Browns management under new owner Randy Lerner, who took over after the death of his father, Al Lerner. The moves seemingly consolidate the sway of coach Butch Davis.

President Carmen Policy, with the Browns since their inception, left May 1 after selling his 10 percent of the franchise back to Lerner. Former Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf, hired this offseason as a personnel consultant, opted to leave after less than three months. Executive vice president Kofi Bonner, whose responsibilities may have overlapped with those of new president John Collins, also is leaving.

A former league executive, Collins was hired to replace Policy, although his duties may not be as encompassing as those of his predecessor.

Given the rapid front office turnover, it appears that Lerner wants his own management team, and the changes have left some employees wondering what's next.

Heneghan joined the Browns after seven seasons with the NFL Management Council, where he was director of labor relations. His primary responsibility with the club was negotiating contracts; he is considered one of the NFL's top salary cap managers.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.