2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Eager Chudzinski takes over new-look Browns

By TOM WITHERS - AP Sports Writer
    2013-01-11 11:42

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Browns have always been a part of Rob Chudzinski's life. Now, he's the man in charge.

Chudzinski, who spent the past two seasons as Carolina's offensive coordinator, was introduced as the club's sixth fulltime coach on Friday, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the 44-year-old who as a kid pretended he played tight end for the Browns during games in his backyard in Toledo, Ohio.

``It is a dream come true,'' Chudzinski said. ``I can't wait to get started.''

Chudzinski will inherit a young roster he'll try to develop into a contender with the Browns, who have lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons and made the playoffs only once since 1999.

Chudzinski previously worked as an assistant with the Browns, most recently as their offensive coordinator in 2008. Although he has no previous head coaching experience, owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner are confident they hired the best possible candidate available to turn their club into a consistent winner.

``I would not miss the chance for the world.'' Chudzinski said. ``We're going to win here.''

The Browns hauled their search to find the 14th coach in franchise history to Arizona and back. They talked to high-profile college coaches, NFL assistants and a fired pro coach who took a team to a Super Bowl.

None of them was hired.

Instead, Chudzinski became their pick.

``I believe we came back with the best coach for the Cleveland Browns,'' said Haslam, who flew to Charlotte, N.C. on Thursday night with Banner to offer Chudzinski the job. ``He is one of the brightest young coaches in the business.''

Chudzinski's first move will be to hire his staff. He will immediately meet with the assistants currently working for the Browns. Chudzinski would not comment on any possible candidates to become his coordinators. There are reports he is considering former San Diego coach Norv Turner to run his offense. Chudzinski worked for Turner with the Chargers.

``I have a plan in place,'' he said. ``We're going to get a great staff. We have a young group of players. This is going to be about the process. Lots of people are worried about the end result, but this is going to be the right process to get us where we want to be.''

Now that they've hired their coach, Haslam and Banner will focus on finding a new general manager to help pick players for Chudzinski, who will be involved in finding the GM.

The new coach - ``Chud,'' as he's known to players and friends - worked with the Browns' tight ends in 2004 and was their offensive coordinator in 2007, when the team won 10 games - their most since an expansion rebirth in 1999. He was released when Romeo Crennel was fired in 2008.

Chudzinski said when he walked off the field after the final game that season he knew he would be coming back to Cleveland ``someday, somehow.''

Chudzinski replaces Pat Shurmur, another first-time coach when he was hired, who was fired on Dec. 31 after a 5-11 season. For the past two years, Chudzinski has worked with talented Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and resuscitated Carolina's offense, which was one of the league's worst before he arrived.

When Haslam and Banner embarked on their coaching search as 2013 began, the pair vowed they would wait as long as necessary to find ``the right coach'' for Cleveland. They promised to give their new coach final say over the roster and planned to pair him with an executive to help pick players.

Chudzinski wasn't seen by many as an option.

And then he became the choice.

Haslam said Chudzinski's passion for the Browns was a bonus, but he had all the credentials and characteristics they were looking for in a new coach.

``If Rob was from Plano, Texas, we would have hired him,'' Haslam said.

Chudzinski said he wants a team that attacks on both sides of the ball. He would not comment on any of Cleveland's players, and sidestepped a question about rookie Brandon Weeden, who had an uneven first season with the Browns.

Chudzinski interviewed with the team on Wednesday, when the club also visited with Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Chudzinski appeared to be a long shot for the job, not because he wasn't qualified, but because it was thought Haslam wanted to make a big splash with his first coaching hire.

However, Chudzinski wowed Haslam and Banner during his meeting and the team decided it was time to end its search in its second week. Haslam said 10 minutes into the interview that he nodded at Banner that they had found their man.

In his first season in Carolina, Chudzinski turned Newton, the No. 1 overall draft pick, loose and the Panthers set club records for total yards (6,237) and first downs (345). Carolina also scored 48 touchdowns after getting just 17 in the season before Chudzinski arrived. The Panthers jumped from last in the league in total yardage to seventh, the biggest improvement since 1999.

Haslam pointed out the Panthers scored 88 touchdowns the past two seasons. Cleveland scored 44.

Following last season, Chudzinski interviewed for head coaching jobs with St. Louis, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay before returning to Carolina.

In getting the Browns' job, Chudzinski was picked over Zimmer, Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman, fired Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt and Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Whisenhunt was in Cleveland for a second interview on Thursday, and appeared to be the front-runner. The Browns also were expected to interview Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

Chudzinski's hiring may have shocked some Cleveland fans, many of whom at fantasies about Nick Saban or Jon Gruden or Kelly brining his supersonic offense to the NFL.

But his selection is in keeping with at least one of Banner's past moves. When he was in Philadelphia's front office, Banner went outside the box and hired Green Bay assistant Andy Reid, a relative unknown who spent 14 seasons with the Eagles.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Zac StacyMay 1 08:22a

St. Louis Rams RB Zac Stacy has asked the team for a trade or to be released after the team selected RB Todd Gurley in the first round of [ More ]

Sam BradfordMay 1 12:52a

The Philadelphia Eagles offered the Tennessee Titans two first-round picks, one third-round pick, DT Fletcher Cox, CB Brandon Boykin, LB Mychal Kendricks and QB Sam Bradford in exchange for [ More ]

Ryan TannehillApr 30 10:52p

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is coming off his best season as a pro, and the team has added WR Kenny Stills, WR Greg Jennings, WR DeVante Parker and [ More ]

Manuel RamirezApr 30 10:42p

The Detroit Lions traded the 23rd overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft to the Denver Broncos for C Manuel Ramirez, the 28th overall pick, the 143rd overall pick and a 2016 fifth-round pick.

Trindon HollidayApr 30 03:32p

San Francisco 49ers WR Trindon Holliday was released Thursday, April 30, while OG Fou Fonoti and WR Lance Lewis were waived.

Montee BallApr 30 03:32p

Denver Broncos RB Montee Ball is confident that he will regain the lead-back role with the team, but admitted that RB C.J. Anderson deserves the job right now. Ball [ More ]

Philip WheelerApr 30 03:22p

Free-agent LB Philip Wheeler (Dolphins) signed with the San Francisco 49ers Thursday, April 30. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 30 02:12p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is still expected to remain with the Vikings even though former NFL WR Cris Carter indicated Peterson could be traded in the near future.

Tom CrabtreeApr 30 01:02p

Free-agent TE Tom Crabtree (Saints) has announced his retirement from professional football.

Bruce IrvinApr 29 11:33p

The Seattle Seahawks do not plan on picking up the fifth-year option on LB Bruce Irvin, according to sources.

L.J. FortApr 29 03:13p

Cincinnati Bengals LB L.J. Fort was waived Wednesday, April 29.

Martellus BennettApr 29 02:33p

Chicago Bears TE Martellus Bennett could be on the move since the Bears are entertaining trade offers for him, according to sources. Bennett is looking for a new contract [ More ]

Johnny ManzielApr 28 08:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel's commitment is 'night and day' from last year, according to Browns OT Joe Thomas, Tuesday, April 28. Manziel has been participating in the Browns' [ More ]

Philip RiversApr 28 06:13p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers will not be traded, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Additionally, the Chargers will not extend Rivers' contract as of now, but they [ More ]

Matt ForteApr 28 05:13p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte was not present for the team's commencement of their voluntary minicamp Tuesday, April 28. Forte was also absent for the beginning of the offseason [ More ]

Quanterus SmithApr 28 01:23p

Denver Broncos DE Quanterus Smith (knee) was waived Tuesday, April 28, after a failed physical on his left knee. Smith played in 15 games last year and had 11 tackles and zero sacks.

Dion JordanApr 28 01:13p

Miami Dolphins DE Dion Jordan will be suspended for the entire 2015 season for another substance abuse policy violation, according to league sources. Jordan will not appeal the suspension.

Quanterus SmithApr 28 10:32a

Denver Broncos DE Quanterus Smith was waived Tuesday, April 28, according to a source.

Adrian PetersonApr 28 08:52a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is 80% likely to remain with the Vikings, in the opinion of ESPN insider Chris Mortensen.

Sam BradfordApr 28 01:13a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford was acquired to be the team's quarterback, not as a trade pawn. Bradford will only sign an extension with the Eagles with a no-trade [ More ]

Philip RiversApr 27 09:12p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers hadn't been the topic of conversations between the Chargers and other NFL teams as of Monday, April 27. There have been plenty of [ More ]

Jonte GreenApr 27 04:22p

Buffalo Bills CB Jonte Green was released Monday, April 27.

Michael CoxApr 27 02:42p

New York Giants RB Michael Cox was waived Monday, April 27.

Philip RiversApr 27 02:12p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers is unlikely to be traded to the Tennessee Titans on draft day this Thursday, April 30. A deal couldn't be done without Rivers [ More ]

Sam BradfordApr 24 06:02p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota could be selected by the Philadelphia Eagles if the team could make trades with the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans, according to one draft rumor. [ More ]

Chris PolkApr 24 05:42p

Philadelphia Eagles restricted free-agent RB Chris Polk's tender offer has been rescinded by the Eagles, according to a source. Polk will become an unrestricted free agent and allowed to sign with any team.

Jaiquawn JarrettApr 24 04:52p

New York Jets restricted free-agent SS Jaiquawn Jarrett signed his tender offer Friday, April 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Hakeem NicksApr 24 01:42p

Free-agent WR Hakeem Nicks (Colts) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the Tennessee Titans Friday, April 24.

Justin BlackmonApr 24 12:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon is likely done with the Jaguars if he's reinstated into the league, in the opinion of beat writer Ryan O'Halloran.

Adrian PetersonApr 23 05:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson may not be in the Dallas Cowboys' plans after all, according Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports. Robinson said the Cowboys have not spoken to the Vikings regarding Peterson.

Demaryius ThomasApr 23 03:32p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas has decided not to participate in offseason workouts because he does not want to suffer an injury, but general manager John Elway does not [ More ]

Will HillApr 23 03:12p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent FS Will Hill signed his tender offer Thursday, April 23, according to sources. Hill received a one-year deal worth $1.54 million.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group