Browns fire head coach Hue Jackson, name Gregg Williams interim
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Hue Jackson’s failed, flawed tenure with the Cleveland Browns is finally over.
The team fired its embattled coach on Monday, ending a run of futility nearly unmatched in NFL history. Jackson, who went 3-36-1 in two-plus seasons, was dismissed on Monday by general manager John Dorsey with the backing of owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam.
The Browns also dismissed offensive coordinator Todd Haley and named defensive coordinator Gregg Williams interim coach. Haley was in his first season on Jackson’s staff after spending the previous six in Pittsburgh.
“We greatly appreciate Hue’s commitment to the Cleveland Browns organization over the last 2½ years,” the Haslams said. “We understand how critical this time period is in the development of our football team, individually and collectively, and believed it was in the organization’s best interest to make the move at this time, in order to maximize our opportunities the rest of this season. We certainly only wish Hue, Michelle, and his family the best moving forward.”
Jackson’s firing came a day after the Browns (2-5-1) lost their 25th straight road game — 20 of them coming with Jackson in charge.
The Browns, who have not made the playoffs since 2002 amid a slew of coaching changes, have lost three straight games after a promising start to this season. They tied Pittsburgh in Week 1, but were beaten 33-18 on Sunday by the Steelers.
Jackson is the sixth straight Cleveland coach to be fired following the team’s second game against Pittsburgh. Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski and Mike Pettine all met the same demise.
The Browns host the Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) on Sunday.
For now, Williams is in charge as the Browns prepare to face the Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) on Sunday. Williams went 17-31 in three seasons as Buffalo’s coach from 2001-03, but the animated assistant is perhaps best known for being suspended by the NFL for the 2012 season for his role in the “Bountygate” scandal that rocked the New Orleans Saints.
Also, running backs coach Freddie Kitchens has been promoted to offensive coordinator.
Jimmy Haslam and Dorsey are scheduled to meet the media later Monday to discuss the shakeup.
Jackson was hired in 2016 by the Haslams, whose six years ownership have been marked by nearly constant change and bad football. The Haslams stuck by Jackson despite a 1-15 record in his first season and then after the Browns lost all 16 games last season, joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as only the second team in league history to go 0-16.
But beyond the lopsided losses, quarterback changes and bad luck, the Browns have been constantly saddled with drama and dysfunction under Jackson, who came to Cleveland after serving as Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator and went 8-8 as Oakland’s head coach in 2011.
Last week, Jackson’s offer to help Haley following a loss in Tampa Bay underscored another power struggle as Jackson fought to stay in control.
Following Sunday’s game, Jackson downplayed any dispute with his offensive coordinator.
“There’s nothing wrong with my relationship with Haley,” Jackson said. “I never said I wanted to take over play-calling. I said wanted to help, that’s it. But today it’s this big thing because sure, everyone is going to look and say what’s going on. The only thing that is going on is that we need to get better. We need to coach better, we need to play better.”
Jackson’s firing comes one day after the Cleveland Cavaliers fired coach Tyronn Lue, who led the team to an NBA title in 2016 but was struggling in his first season without star LeBron James. The Cavs are 0-6.