Pat McManamon | ESPN.com
The Cleveland Browns fired coach Rob Chudzinski on Sunday night.
Less than a year after touting Chudzinski as one of the bright young coaches in the NFL and a guy CEO Joe Banner said he had his eye on for a long time, the Browns let him go after one season as coach.
A seven-game losing streak to end the season and a 4-12 overall mark apparently were too much to overcome.
The team released a statement with the announcement.
“We appreciate Chud’s passion for the Browns, and we have great respect for him both personally and professionally,” the statement, which was not attributed to any person, read. “We needed to see progress with this football team. We needed to see development and improvement as the season evolved and, unfortunately, we took a concerning step backward in the second half of the year.
“Our fans deserve to see a consistently competitive team. We have high standards, and there’s an urgency for success. When we believed we were not positioned to achieve significant progress in 2014, we knew we had to admit that a change was needed, and move forward.
“Browns fans are the most loyal and passionate supporters in the NFL. We’re fully committed to bringing them the winning football team they deserve.”
The Browns have called an 8 a.m. ET staff meeting Monday for the rest of their coaching staff, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Cleveland plans to commence its head coaching search immediately, with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt expected to be among the candidates, league sources told Schefter.
Chudzinski was hired Jan. 11 after the Browns fired Pat Shurmur less than a year ago. The Browns, including owner Jimmy Haslam, became convinced they made a mistake and did not want to continue down their current path with Chudzinski, sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortenssen.
News of Chudzinski’s impending ouster was first reported by Mortensen.
After Sunday’s 20-7 season-ending loss to the Steelers, Chudzinski called it simply “a difficult day.”
Chudzinski had to deal with an unsettled quarterback situation as the Browns started three different players at the position, going with Brandon Weeden in the season opener, turning to Brian Hoyer shortly afterward before he suffered a season-ending knee injury and ending the season with veteran Jason Campbell.
This is the third time the Browns have gotten rid of Chudzinski, who grew up a Cleveland fan in Toledo, Ohio.
Chudzinski coached the Browns tight ends for Butch Davis in 2004, and then returned to the team in ’07, when he served two seasons as offensive coordinator under Romeo Crennel.
Information from ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.
- Covered Browns, Cleveland sports since 1998
- Previously worked at Fox Sports Ohio, AOL Fanhouse, Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com
- Cleveland native, proud father of two daughters