Hue Jackson, Todd Haley Fired by Cleveland Browns Midway Through Season

Hue Jackson
Former Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns fired head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley on Monday, less than 24 hours after losing their third consecutive game on Sunday.

The Browns also announced that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will take over as interim head coach while running backs coach and associate head coach Freddie Kitchens will assume the role of offensive coordinator.

Williams will also continue to serve as the team's defensive coordinator, despite reports that his son, linebackers coach Blake Williams, could be promoted to the position.

"We greatly appreciate Hue's commitment to the Cleveland Browns organization over the last two and a half years," Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. "We understand how critical this time period is in the development of our football team, individually and collectively, and believed it was in the organization's best interest to make the move at this time, in order to maximize our opportunities the rest of this season. We certainly only wish Hue, Michelle, and his family the best moving forward."

Cleveland is currently 2-5-1 in 2018, which doubled Jackson's win total from his first two seasons with the organization. The Browns went 1-5 during the coach's first year in 2015 and 0-16 in 2016.

Cleveland hired general manager John Dorsey late last season and he opted to keep Jackson despite the team's historically bad finish.

Several reports indicated that Jackson and Haley had a strained relationship over the course of the 2018 season, with many expecting the head coach to take over play calling duties prior to his termination on Monday. Haley, who had previously worked as the offensive coordinator for the rival Pittsburgh Steelers from 2012-17, was in his first season with the Browns.

According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the coaching changes were made in order to benefit the development of starting quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was selected No. 1 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Oklahoma University coach Lincoln Riley, who coach Mayfield in college, addressed whether he'd be interested in reuninting with his former quarterback shortly after news broke of Jackson's termination.

"I knew that was coming," Riley said during his weekly news conference on Monday. "No, not right now. You sit here and answer these questions, and I always want to be truthful. The truth is for me is I love Oklahoma. I love coaching here. I love college football. I certainly don't have that itch right now. Don't know that I ever will.

"But I'm never going to be a guy that stands up here and say no way, no how, with any of these things never happening. I don't know that. But I know right now I could care less about the NFL."

Cleveland is coming off a 33-18 loss to the Steelers on Sunday, who it had played to a tie in Week 1. The Browns fired five previous coaches -- Romeo Crennel (2005-08), Eric Mangini (2009-10), Pat Shurmur (2011-12), Rob Chudzinski (2013) and Mike Pettine (2014-15) -- immediately after their second regular season matchup against Pittsburgh.

Cleveland has the NFL's lowest winning percentage, offensive efficiency, points per game and total quarterback rating of any team since 2016.

Jackson's career .205 win percentage is the second lowest in NFL history among coaches who have appeared in at least 40 games, according to ESPN.

Jackson had previously coached one season with the Oakland Raiders in 2011 before joining the Browns, which resulted in an 8-8 finish.