As expected, the Cleveland Browns have turned the page on the old regime, firing both head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert.
The moves had been speculated about since Jimmy Haslam bought the club earlier this year and brought in Joe Banner as CEO. Mike Holmgren, who had been the Browns president, left the organization in November.
“We felt that these moves were in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns and our future,” Haslam said in a statement. “I enjoyed getting to know Tom and Pat over the past several months, and want to thank them, not just for their contributions to the Browns, but also the insight they were able to provide. They are both fine men and hope they have the best of success as they move forward with their careers.”
In the statement released by the Browns, both Heckert and Shurmur commented on the move.
“I leave the Browns feeling very good about many of the things we accomplished here and the direction in which I believe this team is headed,” Heckert said. “Having been around this franchise growing up, I was really excited for the opportunity to come here three years ago, and I want to thank Randy Lerner and Mike Holmgren for making that possible. I also want to acknowledge many of the hard-working people in the Browns organization, especially our player personnel staff, who are outstanding at what they do and supported me immensely in my role. I wish the team nothing but the best as they move forward.”
As for Shurmur, he said, “I am extremely proud of the players on this team, who I felt made tremendous strides and helped to make the Cleveland Browns relevant again. I want to thank them, as well as my entire coaching staff for making the past two years enjoyable. My coaches are outstanding teachers and even better men. They helped me lead these players through a unique time of transition. This group of players will achieve success soon, and there will be a part of me that will feel very good when that happens.
“I want to thank Randy Lerner, Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert for bringing me in and having the faith in me to lead this football team. I am disappointed that we did not win more games, but I do know the Browns are on their way to becoming a consistent winner. I appreciated the time spent with Jimmy (Haslam) and Joe (Banner), and wish them all the best as they provide a new vision for the Cleveland Browns.”
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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com