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Owner says Browns will hire coach before GM
3:19 PM ET
  • Jake TrotterESPN Staff Writer

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    • Covers the Big 12
    • Joined ESPN.com in 2011
    • Graduate of Washington & Lee University

BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said Thursday that his team will first hire a head coach so that the new head coach will have a say in whom the team eventually hires as general manager.

“If you look at the successful organizations that are consistently in the playoffs, there is alignment within the organization, and they have the right people in the right place, coach and GM,” Haslam said. “That’s what we’re focused on tremendously, and that alignment is something that is really, really important.”

The Browns’ new coach and general manager will report to ownership as equals.

The end of the regular season brought another regime change in Cleveland. Earlier this week, Haslam fired first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens and parted ways with second-year general manager John Dorsey after the Browns finished with a record of 6-10 to run the NFL’s longest playoff drought to 17 years. Dorsey had hired Kitchens.

Haslam and his wife, co-owner Dee Haslam, are undergoing their fifth coaching search since buying the team in 2012. The Haslams have fired five general managers during that span as well.

“Hopefully we’ll learn from our past mistakes and do a much better job,” Haslam said. “We realize we’ve had a tremendous amount of change since we bought the team. We accept responsibility. At the same time, more determined than ever to get it right for the Browns, the players and the great fans of the Cleveland Browns.”

Haslam said Cleveland’s coaching search committee will be composed of himself, Dee Haslam, vice president and son-in-law JW Johnson, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta (who has overseen the team’s analytics department) and vice president Chris Cooper (who oversees Cleveland’s salary cap).

On Thursday, the Browns interviewed former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy at their team headquarters. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, McCarthy was scheduled to interview with the New York Giants on Friday.

Haslam said that initially the team would not consider candidates who don’t have NFL experience, ruling out former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, at least for now.

Haslam said that despite the recent turnover and struggles on the field, the Cleveland job should appeal to prospective candidates, considering a young and talented roster that includes players like second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield.

“We’re really excited about the group of candidates that we’re going to be interviewing over the next several days,” Haslam said. “Despite all the changes we’ve made, I think it’s a very attractive job. Everyone in the NFL knows how important football is in this area. I think everybody understands we have a really good young quarterback and a really good core group of players.”

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