Kokinis seeks $4M from Browns

Updated: December 21, 2009, 2:29 PM ET
By James Walker | ESPN.com

While the Cleveland Browns are in hot pursuit of Mike Holmgren to become their new football "czar," the former general manager took legal measures Monday against the team.

George Kokinis officially filed for arbitration seeking $4 million in compensation , alleging the Browns refused to honor his contract. In a press release by Kokinis' lawyers, it claims the team "breached his employment agreement and fraudulently induced him to join the Browns under the representation that he would be given control over all player personnel matters and report directly to the owner of the team."

Kokinis, who formerly worked for the Baltimore Ravens, was the hand-picked selection for GM by Browns head coach Eric Mangini. But once they both arrived in Cleveland, things went awry as the two butted heads behind the scenes.

Soon enough, it became well-known throughout the NFL that Mangini was in charge in Cleveland, despite Kokinis' contract stating he had control over the 53-man roster.

Kokinis was let go in November, and the team cited "cause" for his release.

"George was shocked by the behavior of the Browns in this matter and sincerely hoped that the team would honor its contract without the need to file an arbitration. But the team has given him no choice," said Kokinis' lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler. "Contracts are meant to be honored, not broken, and there is no basis for the Browns to assert that this is a 'for cause' termination."

Of Kokinis' arbitration filing, Browns general counsel Fred Nance said "We've received it and are reviewing it."

James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter