Four months after joining the Orioles front office, veteran football executive Ernie Accorsi is leaving to resume his NFL career as assistant general manager of the New York Giants.
The Giants are expected to announce Accorsi's appointment today.
Accorsi declined to confirm he is taking the Giants job, saying only, "It's been offered. Obviously I'm quite interested."
But Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos said yesterday that Accorsi told him at a meeting earlier in the day that he is leaving to work for the Giants.
"It's a great opportunity for Ernie. We're pleased for him, though it's certainly a disappointment from our standpoint," Angelos said.
The loss of Accorsi is another setback for Angelos in his efforts to assemble a group of senior officials to run the team. Since he took over the Orioles last October, Angelos has said he wants to withdraw from the team's daily operations, leaving those decisions to a team of hand-picked officials.
But that goal has been slow to materialize, because Angelos has remained a hands-on owner and because some of his assistants have departed. Accorsi, who had the title of executive director for business affairs, is the second high-level official to leave the club since Opening Day. The other, Fred Arscott, the club's former chief administrative officer, was fired in April after Angelos reversed a decision of Arscott's to close the Orioles' Washington baseball store.
Accorsi said that he was happy with the Orioles during his short stay and that leaving the Orioles after such a short time "is my one and only regret."
"The two parts that made this decision so difficult is Peter Angelos and the [Orioles] franchise. It's one of the best in sports," he said.
For his part, Angelos acknowledged that the front-office restructuring probably would be slowed by Accorsi's leaving.
"I not only want to, but expect to [reduce his Orioles workload]," Angelos said. "This may delay that day for a short period of time, but nonetheless it is a goal that will be realized."
As Giants assistant GM, Accorsi apparently will be second in command in the front office, and he'll work closely with George Young, the Giants' general manager and Accorsi's longtime friend. The Young-Accorsi friendship dates back at least to the early 1970s, when both were working for the Baltimore Colts -- Young as an assistant coach and Accorsi as the team's public relations director.
Young has been hospitalized twice in the past two years, and though he repeatedly has said he has no plans to retire, the addition of Accorsi seemingly gives the Giants a ready successor to Young should circumstances change.
Young wouldn't confirm or deny Accorsi's appointment.
Accorsi, 52, said he'd only leave the Orioles if the job were ideal.
"I didn't pursue this, and when I joined the Orioles, I really didn't expect to return to the NFL," Accorsi said. "It was going to take the combination of ingredients that this job offers -- two ownership groups like they have, George Young and a franchise of that stature."
The Giants are owned by Wellington Mara, whose family has had a share of the team since 1925, and Robert Tisch, who briefly was in the running to bring an NFL expansion franchise to Baltimore.
Accorsi has one of the most varied resumes in professional sports. Before joining the Orioles, Accorsi spent most of three decades working in the NFL, including stints as the GM for the Colts and Cleveland Browns. He spent about a year helping the Maryland Stadium Authority's efforts to land an NFL expansion franchise.