Browns Will Hire Head Coach Before Seeking New GM
Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam says the team will hire a new head coach first, then allow the coach to have a say in who is hired as general manager after the firings of coach Freddie Kitchens and GM John Dorsey earlier this week.
“These kind of changes are tough," Haslam said at a Thursday press conference. "You spend a lot of time with these people and certainly enjoyed our time with [Kitchens]. We just did not feel like the team made enough progress during the course of the year."
Dorsey, who was hired midway through the 2017 season, made the trades for receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., and drafted quarterback Baker Mayfield and running back Nick Chubb, among others.
"We asked John to take a different position in the organization," Haslam said. "I don't want to get into all the details. We felt like it was well suited to John's skillset and when we couldn't work it out, we agreed to move forward."
Haslam said the ownership feels "terrible" about the frequent turnover of football management since buying the team in 2012.
"We realize that, you know, we've had a tremendous amount of change since we've bought the team," Haslam said. "We accept responsibility. At the same time, we're more determined than ever to get it right."
The Browns are seeking their fifth full-time head coach since 2012. Gregg Williams served as interim coach for eight games in 2018.
The new coach and GM will be expected to be on the same page and align their strategies for the team, Haslam said, and both will report to the Browns’ ownership as equals. Assistant GM Eliot Wolf will continue in his current role according to Haslam, but the GM will come from outside the organization. Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta will run the search for a head coach, Haslam confirmed.
The search committee consists of DePodesta, Vice President of Football Administration Chris Cooper, Vice President and Haslam's son-in-law J.W. Johnson, Haslam himself and his wife and co-owner, Dee. The team’s ownership will have the final say on hiring, Haslam said, but those decisions will not be made in a "vacuum.”
When asked about rumors of former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer's candidacy, Haslam said they're currently focusing on those with NFL head-coaching experience.
Former Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, who made the playoffs nine times and won the Super Bowl following the 2010 season, interviewed with the Browns Thursday.