CLEVELAND – The Browns changed uniforms to start the season and their coach and general manager to end it.
Hours after a 28-12 loss to the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in the season finale, owner Jimmy Haslam fired coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer following their second straight losing season in charge.
It’s almost a tradition.
Pettine went 10-22 in two years, dropping 18 of his final 21 games after a promising 7-4 start in 2014. Pettine’s job security had been in doubt for months, and not even Haslam’s vow at the start of training camp to not “blow things up” could stop another regime change in Cleveland.
Pettine was the team’s seventh full-time coach since 1999, and the team has changed coaches and GMs five times since 2008.
“We greatly appreciate Ray’s and Mike’s dedication and hard work while with the Cleveland Browns,” said Haslam, who owns the team along with his wife, Dee. “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. We will approach the search for our next football coach and executives to lead our football operations with a clear vision regarding what we need to do to build a successful organization.
“We will be methodical in looking for strong, smart leaders with high character who are relentlessly driven to improve our football team, willing to look at every resource possible to improve, and who embrace collaboration to ultimately make the best decisions for the Cleveland Browns. We are fully committed to bringing our fans the winning organization they so clearly deserve.”
Haslam said the team will immediately begin a search for the eighth full-time coach of its expansion era.
“We want to get the right person,” Haslam said. “I don’t know if it’s going to take two weeks or two months.”
Once the Browns have their coach, they’ll hire a GM. Haslam said Sashi Brown has been promoted to vice president of football operations and will have control over the 53-man roster.
Haslam still believes the Browns are attractive to quality candidates and downplayed the idea the team needs to make a “splash” with its coaching hire.
“We want to find the right head coach who I believe will be the leader of the team and the face of the franchise,” said Haslam, who returned to FirstEnergy Stadium following a meeting with Pettine at team headquarters in Berea, Ohio. “We are very determined to get that right person.”
Niners ax Tomsula
Santa Clara, California — Jim Tomsula was fired by the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night after one disappointing year, with an announcement just more than two hours after the season finale.
Elevated from his defensive line coaching duties in an unconventional, surprising promotion by CEO Jed York last January, Tomsula went 5-11 as the Niners missed the playoffs for the second straight season. They were 8-8 a year ago in then-coach Jim Harbaugh’s fourth season before his “mutual” parting with the franchise, as the team described it.
York was scheduled to address the media Monday morning.
“Jimmy has been a valuable member of the 49ers organization for the last nine years,” York said in a statement. “We all know he is a man of high character, and his contributions on the field and in our community have always been greatly appreciated. This entire organization is proud and grateful to have worked so closely alongside Jimmy. We all wish him and his family great success in the future.”