Browns turn GM search towards Eagles’ Heckert

With speculation around the league mounting that Cleveland and New England’s vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli will be unable to reach some type of deal, the Browns requested permission Tuesday to interview Eagles general manager Tom Heckert.

When and where Heckert will interview for the Browns vacancy is uncertain, but it is an intriguing match on many levels. Heckert’s father, Tom, spent 20 years in the NFL personnel ranks, and served as a scout for the Browns. Now his son is a candidate for their vacant general manager job.

Heckert’s potential interview raises questions about the direction in which Cleveland is headed. It has expressed an interest in interviewing Baltimore’s director of pro personnel George Kokinis, and will have to wait until after the Ravens season to do it. Plus, there are people around the league that believe Pioli no longer is likely to land in Cleveland, as many expected.

Cleveland’s situation does have some drawbacks. It is about $10 million under the salary cap, but it is dealing with contract situations with both tight end Kellen Winslow and wide receiver Braylon Edwards, each of whom have contracts that expire after the 2009 season. Plus, the Browns are without third-, fifth- and seventh-round picks in the upcoming draft.

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