2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Chudzinski thrilled to get Browns' job

By TOM WITHERS - AP Sports Writer
    2013-01-11 16:39

CLEVELAND (AP) - Rob Chudzinski's roots run 44 years deep with the Browns.

As a kid, he buckled on his orange helmet and ran around his backyard in Toledo, Ohio, pretending he was Ozzie Newsome. He sat outside in the snow and watched Cleveland games on TV through the window to make it feel like he was in the Dawg Pound.

He chomped on dog biscuits.

On Friday, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came true for Chudzinski, who was introduced as the Browns' sixth fulltime coach since 1999. Although he has never been a head coach, ``Chud'' was selected over candidates with more experience and stronger resumes.

Chudzinski, though, stood out. He wanted it more than anyone.

``It's a dream come true, almost unbelievable in a lot of ways,'' Chudzinski said.

There is a segment of Browns fans as stunned as Chudzinski, whose hiring seemed to come out of nowhere.

After interviewing several high-profile candidates, including Oregon coach Chip Kelly, former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt and other top coordinators, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner picked Chudzinski, who spent the past two years as Carolina's offensive coordinator.

Haslam said he spoke with ``nine or 10 of the best coaches in the country'' and insisted Chudzinski was on the team's list of candidates from the outset.

``Rob was always on our radar screen,'' Haslam said of his first coaching hire. ``Rob has been identified as a top, bright, young guy for a long time. I feel very confident we've got the right guy.''

This is Chudzinski's third stint with the Browns. He coached Cleveland's tight ends in 2004 and was the team's offensive coordinator in 2007-08. In his first season calling plays, the Browns went 10-6 and had four players make the Pro Bowl. It hasn't been nearly as good since he left

``Happy to see Chud coming back,'' Browns Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas said in an email to the AP. ``We had a good year in 2007. Very smart offensive mind. When he left, I knew he'd be a great head coach someday!''

Chudzinski's first task is to assemble his staff. He'll speak with the assistants still under contract and is confident he'll be able to bring in quality coaches to build the Browns into a consistent winner. Chudzinski would not comment on any specific candidates. There are reports he'll hire former San Diego coach Norv Turner as his offensive coordinator.

Chudzinski was the Chargers tight ends coach under Turner.

Working on an hour's sleep after getting his dream job. Chudzinski would not comment on any players on Cleveland's current roster. He said his philosophy will be to ``attack'' on offense and defense and he feels the Browns have the versatility to run a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.

The 44-year-old Chudzinski interviewed for head coaching jobs last year with St. Louis, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay before returning for his second season with Carolina, where he spent two years working with quarterback Cam Newton.

When he left the Browns for the second time in 2008, Chudzinski always thought he would return to Cleveland.

``I remember the last game walking out of the stadium and looking across the field, somehow knowing I'd be back somehow, someway,'' he said.

The Browns had a whirlwind courtship with Chudzinski. Haslam and Banner spent last week in Arizona, where they spoke to at least five known candidates. They got deep in talks with Kelly before backing away because of the offensive mastermind's indecision about jumping to the NFL.

The team rebooted its search and spoke with several other candidates including Whisenhunt, who was in Cleveland on Thursday for a second interview. Chudzinski met with the Browns on Wednesday at Haslam's estate on Lake Erie, where he laid out his coaching philosophies.

``Rob was very decisive,'' Haslam said. ```This is how I'm going to do things. I'm an offensive guy, but here's my role on defense. Here's my role on special teams. Here are the type of people I would bring in as coordinators, here are the type of coaches.' It was just very definitive.''

Chudzinski received a phone call on Thursday that Haslam and Banner wanted to have dinner with him in Charlotte, N.C. They had been impressed with Chudzinski's thoroughness in the first interview, but wanted to spend more time with him.

``''We felt very positively that Rob was the man,'' Haslam said. ``This organization has had a lot of change in terms of leadership, so it was exceptionally important that we get that right. An hour through dinner, we felt like that definitely this was the right guy.''

Haslam said he wasn't aware of Chudzinski's Ohio background or his love for the Browns.

``It's a great story, but if Rob had been from Plano, Texas, we'd have hired him,'' Haslam said.

Banner has tracked Chudzinski's career for some time as he does with ``the best young people in the league.'' It was Banner who had plucked Andy Reid, a then-unknown assistant from Green Bay, and hired him as Philadelphia's head coach in 1999. Reid spent 14 years with the Eagles before he was recently fired.

Now that they've hired a 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 next GM.

Chudzinski has it better than any of his five predecessors in Cleveland. He inherits a young roster with more talent than the team has had in years, and it's his job to develop a team that has lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons.

Chudzinski understands Cleveland's passion for football - and its pain.

He knows the heartbreak felt by Browns fans, who are still waiting for their team to make the Super Bowl. He knows it because he's felt it, too.

The Browns have had other coaches, but never one so intensely attached to the team. Chudzinski could have stayed in Carolina and waited for another head coaching job to come along. But there's no other job that could match this one.

To Chudzinski, this was the only one.

``I wouldn't have missed this opportunity for anything in the world,'' he said. ``To bring back the pride, the passion, the success this franchise has had in the past, I want to be part of that.''

---

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

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Luke WillsonOct 24 10:44p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (groin) will play in the team's Week 8 game, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Crockett GillmoreOct 24 10:32p

Baltimore Ravens rookie TE Crockett Gillmore will receive the start at tight end in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Ravens appear to have plenty of confidence [ More ]

Golden TateOct 24 10:12p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate will be facing the league's 29th ranked pass defense in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Steve JohnsonOct 24 10:08p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson has played only 20 percent of the snaps in the last month, but he's been the team's most effective receiver in that time. [ More ]

Reggie BushOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is expected to be inactive for the Week 9 game against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source Friday, Oct. 24.

Calvin JohnsonOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source. The team has a bye in [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) missed his sixth consecutive game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he could return to practice as [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) missed his third straight game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he might be able to return to practice Monday, Oct. 27.

Alan BallOct 24 07:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars are extremely thin at cornerback heading into the team's Week 8 game, with CBs Alan Ball (biceps) out, and Dwayne Gratz (hip flexor) questionable. There is [ More ]

Kevin WilliamsOct 24 06:32p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot), DT Jordan Hill (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), TE Zach Miller (ankle), C Max Unger (foot), LB Bobby Wagner (toe) and WR Bryan [ More ]

Khalif BarnesOct 24 06:32p

Oakland Raiders OT Khalif Barnes (quadriceps) is expected to start at right tackle in Week 8, but head coach Tony Sparano would not say if Barnes or OT Menelik [ More ]

LaMarr WoodleyOct 24 06:22p

Oakland Raiders DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) are expected to be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Dion SimsOct 24 06:02p

Miami Dolphins SS Jimmy Wilson (hamstring) is listed as doubtful for Week 8. LB Koa Misi (ankle) is listed as questionable, while OT Branden Albert (elbow), LS John Denney [ More ]

Billy WinnOct 24 05:52p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DT Phil Taylor (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8. DE Billy Winn (quadriceps) and SS Jim Leonhard (ankle) are listed [ More ]

Justin TuckOct 24 05:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, [ More ]

Derrick ColemanOct 24 05:32p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Derrick Coleman (foot) had surgery to repair a foot injury this week. He is expected to miss at least six weeks.

Brandon BrownerOct 24 05:32p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8. OG Dan Connolly (concussion), DE Dominique [ More ]

Johnathan JosephOct 24 05:32p

Houston Texans CB Darryl Morris (ankle) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8 against the Tennessee Titans. LBs Jadeveon Clowney (knee), Brian Cushing (knee), [ More ]

Frostee RuckerOct 24 05:22p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles. DE Calais Campbell (knee) is questionable, while S Rashad Johnson (knee) and [ More ]

Morgan BurnettOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers DE Datone Jones (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints. S Morgan Burnett (calf) is questionable, while CB Sam Shields [ More ]

James StarksOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) was limited in practice for the second straight day Friday, Oct. 24, but is probable for Week 8 against the New Orleans [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 24 05:02p

Chicago Bears LB Jonathan Bostic (back) and LB Lance Briggs (ribs) were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are doubtful for Week 8. S Danny McCray (knee) did [ More ]

Ryan ClarkOct 24 05:02p

Washington Redskins CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) and FS Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) were limited during practice Friday, Oct. 24. DE Chris Baker (thigh), OT Tyler Polumbus (knee), LB Perry [ More ]

Jack CrawfordOct 24 04:52p

Dallas Cowboys OT Doug Free (foot) and DE Jack Crawford (calf) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24. Anthony Spencer (knee) was limited during practice, while LB Bruce [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 24 04:52p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman continues to run with confidence in the absence of RB Montee Ball (groin), and Ball will likely find it hard to win his starting [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 24 04:32p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle, knee) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and have been ruled out. DT Brodrick Bunkley [ More ]

Nick MangoldOct 24 04:32p

New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly (knee) and WR Greg Salas (wrist, ankle) both were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are questionable for Week 8. OT Oday [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 24 04:32p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Christopher Owens (knee) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) and S Eric Berry (ankle) are [ More ]

Khiry RobinsonOct 24 04:22p

New Orleans Saints RB Khiry Robinson (forearm) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 24 04:22p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder) and CB Brandon McGee (foot) are both out for Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. CBs Janoris Jenkins (knee) and Trumaine [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 24 04:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) said he won't rush back to play until his ankle is fully healed. 'It's our job to help this team win, and [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 24 04:12p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group