Berry officially named Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as VP of football operations and former Colts general manager Ryan Grigson a senior football advisor.
Adofo-Mensah spent the past seven years with San Francisco where he was most recently the 49ers director of football research and development. He will work closely with Berry and the rest of the senior football staff to contribute to all roster and strategy decisions as well as assist Berry with the day-to-day operations of the department.
“I think he brings a nice blend of both an insider and an outsider perspective to football,” Berry said. “I think probably the best part of him is just the person. He is humble, high integrity, a continuous learner, true growth mindset and he has fantastic interpersonal and people skills — in terms of someone who can be both a strategic thought partner with all the big decisions that we make, someone who has the capacity to be an outstanding manager as he helps run the day-to-day of the team, and then just someone who is going to get along with the really strong group that we have already. I think he is really a perfect fit to add to the mix.”
Before entering the NFL, Adofo-Mensah was an associate portfolio manager at Taylor Woods Capital and a VP/executive director at Credit Suisse as a commodities trader. Adofo-Mensah played basketball at Princeton, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He received his master’s in economics from Stanford.
“I came into San Francisco and was a clean slate and I got my football foundation put in by so many; Ed Donatell, Vic Fangio, Tom Gamble, Ethan Waugh, Ran Carthon, Tom Rathman and Bobby Turner, Kyle Shanahan, Mike Shanahan, Eric Mangini, Jason Tarver, Martin Mayhew and John Lynch. My football foundation has been put in by some of the greats and all I've done is try to learn and see the intuition put into it. I'm not the guy who's going to tell a traditional scout a trait is wrong or something like that. I know enough to ask good questions and see how we can get better information and make a good decision.
“Having been at the 49ers for a long time and especially these last few years, you see the benefits of working in an aligned culture. What Cleveland has been building for the last few years to this point of a completely aligned culture, I was really excited to come join that. Winning in a place like this would be something incredible where people care. They care about football on Sundays entirely on a level that's just inspiring. To come to a place and potentially be able to win, it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.”
Grigson officially returns to the Browns after spending four months as an advisor. He was a senior personnel executive in 2017 prior to joining the Seahawks as a consultant the last two years. Before joining the Browns in 2017, Grigson was the GM of the Colts from 2012-16, a stretch that saw the team advance to the playoffs and win 11 games in three consecutive seasons.
“I'm just really, really grateful,” Grigson said. “From the Haslam family on down. Everyone has been so open and collaborative and everybody has their own niche but they kind of just come together. It was neat to see them come together in the process leading up to the draft.
“I've told them I'm an open book and they're welcome to bounce things off me — and I know they're very open to that — just through things I've learned, the wisdom gained and trial and error, victories, mistakes, successes. I feel like I have an experienced background and I've been fortunate the vast majority of it has been with winning programs. I figure I can help in that aspect because I kind of know what it looks like. Whatever Andrew sees fit that I need to do to help us where we want to go, that's what I'll do.”
Grigson promoted Berry from pro scout to pro scouting coordinator during his first year in Indianapolis and the two have remained close since.
“We obviously have a long-time relationship. He was one of the first people to make a significant bet on me early in my career. That is not the reason that he is here,” Berry said, “He is here because I think he is very good. He has a very established track record as a personnel evaluator from his time in St. Louis at the time, Philly and then obviously, Indianapolis. General manager experience, rebuilt the Colts into a winner very quickly, Executive of the Year. And that is something that is valuable to me.”
Six others were also added to the staff – Charles Walls (national scout), Josh Cox (northwest area scout), Nate Sterken (lead data scientist), Andrew Jackson (data architect / systems developer) and Kevin Lewis (software developer).
“I am excited because I think we have brought a lot of smart, talented people and put them in key roles,” Berry said. “But also, everyone is not a carbon copy of one another – they bring different perspectives, different experiences, different viewpoints and that is what is going to push us to better decision making. We really are going to consider all the different perspectives and value them. That was a specific aiming point because I think that just helps us to be a better higher quality football operation. I think that is something that we took big strides in accomplishing this month."
Berry also promoted or changed the roles of 20 others within the front office.
Glenn Cook was named VP of player personnel, Ken Kovash VP of player personnel process and development, Andrew Healy VP of research and strategy, Dan Saganey director of player personnel, Dave Giuliani director research and strategy, Mike Cetta director of scouting research, Adam Al-Khayyal assistant director of pro personnel, Tyler Hamblin football operations coordinator, Zach Wigmore scouting research coordinator, Megan Rock player personnel coordinator, Shaun Herock national scout, Colton Chapple southeast area scout, Dan Zegers midwest area scout, Jimmy Noel northeast area Scout, Branden Francis pro scout, Rod Streater scouting assistant, Joe Dever scouting assistant, Debra Kruszynski executive assistant player personnel/coaching, Bradley DeAngelis director football information systems and Zach Zelinsky senior software developer.
“I feel fortunate that I had a couple of years of first-hand knowledge on the track record with a number of our employees in football operations,” Berry said. “I think it can be challenging when you have transitions, turnovers, a lot has been the case here when someone new comes in, they really get a 90-day sample and they may not appreciate what is already on hand. We have a number of really talented people across football operations already. I very much believe in promoting from within. That does not mean that we are not going to have external hires, in fact we have this cycle and I think that is healthy. But I know that we have really good people on hand and am excited to give them an opportunity.
“Quite frankly, I thought they did a really nice job this spring and am looking forward to seeing what they can do moving forward."