January 04, 2016 - Aaron Wilson
Browns fire Mike Pettine, Ray Farmer
The Cleveland Browns cleaned house, firing coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer following a 3-13 season. Pettine went 10-22 in two seasons and lost 18 of his final 21 games after going 7-4 to start the 2014 season. "We greatly appreciate Ray's and Mike's dedication and hard work while with the Cleveland Browns," Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a letter to fans. "We've made this decision because we don't believe our football team was positioned well for the future. We are all disappointed with where we are, and we take full responsibility." Jimmy Haslam announced the coach will be fired first, then the coach will help pick the general manager. The general manager reports to executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown. The coach reports to Haslam. The search committee that will look for the coach includes owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, Brown, and Jed Hughes of the search firm Korn/Ferry. The coach will join the search for the GM. Haslam said this retooling of the Browns will be a "several-year rebuilding program." "I don't think any of us anticipated going 3-13,'' Haslam said. "I certainly didn't and I don't think anybody in our building did. Mike and Ray understand. They understand it's a bottom-line business and you're paid to win games, and losing 18 of 21 is not acceptable. They get that and they understand that and they're first-class guys. I hate it for them and obviously hate it for us.'' Pettine was the team's seventh full-time coach since 1999. The team has changed coaches and general managers five times since 2008. "The blame for the franchise doing so poorly lays right here with me, because at the end of the day it's our job to put the right people in the right place and provide them with the resources,'' Haslam said. "I think we've done the latter. But the fact in the two full seasons we've owned the team we've won seven games and three games is unacceptable. We accept full responsibility for that. This has been much harder than we thought it would be, and there's a definite learning curve. I think we've found in life you often learn the hard way, and this has certainly been an example of this.'' Among the candidates already linked to the Browns' job: Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase, Jacksonville assistant Doug Marrone, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, former Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly and Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. "I know the realities of this situation," Farmer said of his firing. "Life gives circumstances for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. This is not a lifetime, so I'm certain it will be OK."
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.