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Browns search for general manager underway with Kevin Stefanski joining the process

The Browns' process for finding their next general manager -- which is very much ongoing -- won't differ much from the one that landed Kevin Stefanski as the team's 18th full-time head coach.

The biggest difference? Stefanski is now an integral member of the group that will interview and ultimately make the final decision on who gets the job.

The Browns have been vetting candidates for the position for a while now and even reached out to teams for permission to interview some of them before informing Stefanski he was the pick for head coach. Time is always of the essence during a search like this, but the Browns are sticking to the methodical, thorough process that guided them in a head coaching search that featured in-person interviews with eight candidates.

"We will work through it just like we did the coach process," Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said. "The only difference is, Kevin will be involved. The search committee will go from four members to five and I do not want to say how long it will take. The important thing is to get it right, so we will focus on that."

Check out photos of new head coach Kevin Stefanski's first press conference

Browns Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta echoed that sentiment Wednesday during an interview on "Cleveland Browns Daily." He acknowledged, however, that it would be tough to match the number of candidates interviewed for head coach because there's simply a larger pool to work with. He estimated the search committee -- which includes himself, Stefanski, Dee and Jimmy Haslam, Executive Vice President and Owner J.W. Johnson and Vice President of Football Administration Chris Cooper-- would sit down with three to five candidates before making a decision.

"We've been vetting a lot of candidates just like we did the head coaching search," DePodesta said. "We're looking at fewer GM candidates but we're really zeroing in on the ones we're actually going to interview.

"This will be a collective effort as we put together the vision. I think the foundation of that vision is certainly in place internally."

This will be a new experience for Stefanski, the 37-year-old head coach who spent the past 14 years in Minnesota. Still, his philosophy on how the position should operate within the structure of the organization carries weight. How he, the new general manager and DePodesta work in concert will be the guiding force for a team that has much higher aspirations than what it's achieved in recent years.

In a Wednesday morning interview on “The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima” on Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan, Stefanski laid out what he's looking to see from the candidates.

"Integrity, that's No. 1 for me and us," Stefanski said. "The next thing, it's a general manager we're talking about, so it's football acumen. We want to talk about how they see the game, how they see personnel, different philosophies they have in player evaluation, different philosophies they have in terms of the structure of an organization. 

"I don't know if there's a checklist or skill set, but it's a bunch of different things that I think we'll identify and see if it's the right fit for what we want to do."