Posted January 23, 2014

Mike Pettine hired by Cleveland Browns

AFC North, Cleveland Browns, NFL Coaches
Mike Pettine (top) will take over for the fired Rob Chudzinski in Cleveland.

Mike Pettine (top) will take over for the fired Rob Chudzinski in Cleveland. (David Duprey/AP)

The Cleveland Browns finally have a head coach.

Their (eventual) choice: current Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who accepted the Browns’ job on Thursday after a reported third interview with the franchise.

The Browns, who fired Rob Chudzinski on the NFL’s “Black Monday” in December, were the only team in the NFL operating without a head coach.

“We wanted to be thorough from the start, and we interviewed as many people as we could,” Browns CEO Joe Banner said in a statement. “From that group, we hired the best individual.

“Our players and fans are going to really enjoy Mike Pettine and his leadership style. We’re excited to have him out in front of our team, and we look forward to working closely with him.”

Among others believed to be on the Browns’ list of candidates were Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Both publicly announced they were withdrawing themselves from consideration in recent days — Gase to focus on the upcoming Super Bowl. McDaniels’ name resurfaced as a possibility this week, after the Patriots were eliminated from playoff contention.

Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Dallas special-teams coach Rich Bisaccia also reportedly interviewed for the vacant Cleveland position.

In the end, the franchise opted for Pettine, who excelled as the Jets’ defensive coordinator under Rex Ryan from 2009-12 before jumping to Buffalo last season. There, he helped the Bills markedly improve on defense — they went from 26th in points allowed and 22nd in yards allowed during the 2012 season to 20th and 10th, respectively. Cleveland is coming off a season that saw its own defense collapse after a hot start, en route to a 23rd-overall ranking.

“Mike is the epitome of what we want Browns to be — tough, aggressive and innovative — with a blue-collar, team-first mentality,” said Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.

Every other franchise that fired its head coach either during or immediately after the regular season (Houston, Minnesota, Washington, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Tennessee) already had moved to hire a replacement. Cleveland’s delay led many to believe that it had set its sights on one of the coordinators still alive as of the NFL’s championship weekend.

In an interview with ESPN radio Wednesday night, Adam Schefter cautioned people to “expect the unexpected” in the Browns’ coaching search. “If they wanted to hire [Pettine], they could just go ahead — and do that and maybe they still will. But me reading between the lines, they’re hopping around, they’re interviewing other candidates, they’re bouncing around the country. I think if Pettine were their guy it would just be over and done with. And the longer it goes on the less likely in my mind that Pettine becomes the guy. I think I would categorize him now as a fall-back option.”

Pettine’s next move will be to round out his staff — quickly, if possible, since the scouting combine and free agency are not far off. CBSSports’ Jason La Canfora mentioned Packers running backs coach Alex Van Pelt as an offensive coordinator possibility and Bills linebackers coach Jim O’Neil, who obviously worked with Pettine this past regular season, on the defensive side.

37 comments
6marK6
6marK6

The Browns are the biggest joke in the NFL, which is saying something. Chud loses his QB, has one WR, they trade away his running back for picks. He is told to develop young players, somehow wins 6 games, with nothing, and is fired after one year. No legitimate coach would agree to take a job with such a poorly run organization.

JohnnyNacho
JohnnyNacho

Uh...yeah bro, I recommend renting that place instead of buying it b/c you'll be hittin the breaks in a couple years.....if you last that long.  haha

JasonBain
JasonBain

what people fail to realize is that in NY Rex called the D. Pettine called the d in Buffalo, but he didnt do anything that many others couldnt do. He came to Buffalo, and whether people want to admit it or not, they have some talent on that d. Byrd, both Williams, Darius, Alonzo, gilmore has a ton of potential, Leodis finally came through, and the signing and trade for Lawson and Hughes were pretty good dividends. They also played without Byrd and Gilmore for a good portion of the season. That is some pretty talented players. I like Pettine and wanted him to stay but when you look at that list, there are some pieces to work with and you couldnt get worse than George Edwards and Dave Wanstedt.


I wouldnt mind seeing Jerry Gray back here....


Pettine sure has his work cut out for him

manniefaces
manniefaces

Enjoy your one season as coach. I am a Bengals fan and what the Browns has become saddens even myself.

Dirty-J
Dirty-J

WOW, this is the splash coaching signing that the Browns promised its fans they would make...So tell me mr. haslam why wasnt he high on anyone else's coaching search?? the Idiots waited tooooo long to make a signing and go left with scraps...sad, very sad for a organization, that passed on mike zimmer, jay gruden, etc....i feel for ya dawg pound..

Kopernicus1967
Kopernicus1967

Obviously the coordinators from the Patriots, Seahawks, Broncos and 49ers didn't want anything to do with the Browns.


Here is what I see.   The Browns suffered last year because of the QB situation, everyone knows that.  But the highly praised and rated defense also GAVE UP as the season progressed.  So they fire Chud.


Now they hire the defensive coordinator from a team that had another good defense that GAVE UP halfway through the season.


This is the scrappy, blue-collar hard-working attitude Haslam was looking for?  Sounds like at best they got the same coach.

rockferd
rockferd

Tressel was a natural for the Browns.  The YSU juggernaut was just down the road from Cleveland and his OSU teams were awesome.  

BruceKahn
BruceKahn

There's gotta be something missing with this dude, otherwise, who in their right mind would sign up as the head coach of the NFL's most dysfunctional team? Caveat emptor, season ticket holders! You're not getting anywhere near what you're paying for.

MatthewEugeneHaag
MatthewEugeneHaag

Aaaaand The Browns continue their great tradition of hiring people NO ONE has every heard of before.  Good Job!

DavidWitcraft
DavidWitcraft

Why no mention of contract terms? I hope the guy got a 5 year deal out of them, just to make it more expensive to fire him! Ironically, he'll probably get at least two years, because the embarrassment the last two protracted searches have cost them.

tommerj
tommerj

Wow! Pretty amazing jump from a high school coach in 1999 featured on the the ESPN documentary "The Season" to head coach of the Cleveland Browns. 

I have the feeling that stronger candidates wanted to have nothing to do with it. 


Hope he is successful, but he has a tough road in front of him.


Joe R2
Joe R2

This is an upgrade?

kevinjohnmcleod2
kevinjohnmcleod2

Not sure I would call going from 26th to 20th in points allowed a "marked improvement"

SandersonKramer
SandersonKramer

This is the reason the Browns fired their Head Coach after one year. HAHAHAHAHA

DiegoCerda419
DiegoCerda419

i would laugh if he came out 12 win season right outta the gate. .......................but he won't. DOA.

ChiefG
ChiefG

Great!!!  Another coach with no head coaching experience.

He wasn't even a good defensive coordinator. 

Oh well, he will get fired after next season anyway because he wasn't the Browns first choice.

JosephBagadoughnutz
JosephBagadoughnutz

well , at least now he cant get frequent flyer gasoline points from the truck stops

espnrefugee0218
espnrefugee0218

Iv tried to read an annunciate his last name for like 10 minutes and just cant get it

pettine....pettnine ...pettein. ... still not working.  good luck coach P 

AustinRoth
AustinRoth

<i>“We wanted to be thorough from the start, and we interviewed as many people as we could,” Browns CEO Joe Banner said in a statement. “From that group, we hired the best individual.</i>

I think he means the best individual that couldn't outrun Banner or Scheiner.

AustinRoth
AustinRoth

Is it too early to feel sorry for Pettine?

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

"Dateline: December 2014

While we realize the need for continuity we regret to announce the termination of Mike Pettine's contract as head coach of the Cleveland Browns. We felt that we weren't improving."


What do you want to bet?

MarkBecker
MarkBecker

@rockferd ..yeah tressel like all the other college coaches before him would be a sure winner in the NFL

AF Whigs
AF Whigs

@BruceKahn:  Despite the expert message board consensus that no one would want to coach the Browns, there are plenty of coaches who dream of being an NFL head coach.  Plus, if you think about it, as messed up as the Browns are, if the guy doesn't produce or gets fired quickly, people will see it as a function of the Browns being a terrible organization less than his abilities as a coach. 


Frankly I don't mind the choice.  We don't need a big name, splashy hire.  Someone under the radar...again, I know...who will hopefully move forward in small steps and dig the Browns out of the cesspool they've been lingering in for all these years.

Kopernicus1967
Kopernicus1967

@BruceKahn Because your former job was for another losing team as an assistant?  


You have to admit the salary is better, and the expectations probably lower.

Sulkaman
Sulkaman

@tommerj It isn't exactly a meteoric rise.  15 years ago he was a high school coach.  He's had NFL jobs since and frankly 15 years is a long time. What were you doing 15 years ago versus now for example? A lot can happen in 15 years. 

Matthew W
Matthew W

@tommerj 

Because the coach in Cleveland doesn't have final say in roster moves or the draft....the brain trust does and they pass the buck of failure to the coach. 

Sulkaman
Sulkaman

@Joe R2Exactly what I was thinking Joe.  Lateral move at best. In fact, a backwards move because firing yet another coach deepened the perception/reality that Cleveland is impatient with coaches.  It has become the place where coaches go to die.

JoshFinn
JoshFinn

@MarkBecker @rockferd What a joke those 2 college coaches out west,  Carroll and Harbaugh, have been.  What the hell were the 49er's and Seahawks thinking!

rockferd
rockferd

@MatthewEugeneHaag Mike Pettine Sr. retired from CB West after the 1999 season. Wonder why Jr. wasn't hired to replace his dad?  Especially curious  considering Jr was coaching down the road at North Penn (a rival of CB West).