It's fair to assume the Cleveland Browns made up their minds about coach Rob Chudzinksi long before Sunday, it's just that nobody figured that the Browns would give up on him after just one season.
But the rumors about Chudzinski's job security started on Sunday afternoon and the decision was swift: On Sunday night, about five hours after the Browns' loss at Pittsburgh officially ended their season, Chudzinski was fired. Black Monday came early to Cleveland.
BREAKING: The Browns have relieved Head Coach Rob Chudzinski of his duties, the organization announced Sunday night.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 30, 2013
The Browns had a disappointing 4-12 season, but one that could have been explained away by numerous quarterback injuries, including a big one to Brian Hoyer after Hoyer helped them to a two-game winning streak early in the season, and trading away starting running back Trent Richardson early in the season without a decent backup plan. But the organization didn't need any more time to realize that Chudzinski wasn't the answer.
It's rare for an NFL coach to get just one year, although Jacksonville did fire Mike Mularkey after last season, his first running the Jaguars. Hue Jackson (Raiders, 2001), Jim Mora (Seahawks, 2009), Cam Cameron (Miami, 2007), Art Shell (Raiders, 2006), Marty Schottenhimer (Redskins, 2001) and Al Groh (Jets, 2000) are the other coaches who were fired after just one season since 2000, according to Pro Football Talk.
Chudzinski joins that group. Although it's hard for the beaten-down Browns franchise to start over again, it's obvious that they felt they made a mistake hiring Chudzinski and decided to not compound the error by keeping him around a second season.
The reaction to Chudzinski's firing was not positive from some Browns players.
A gem from D'Qwell Jackson right now, to me: "We fired Chud? You're kidding, right? Are you kidding me?"— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) December 30, 2013
Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas also wasn't supportive of the decision.
“You look at the great franchises. They don’t fire your coach after the first season," Thomas told the Akron Beacon Journal before the firing was announced. "You can’t do it.
"It sets everything back. You just hit the reset button. Anytime you hit the reset button, it severely damages the organization, and it lengthens the amount of time that it takes to get back to the playoffs and turn the team into a consistent winner. … I think that this organization needs continuity and that’s the only chance that we’re going to have to turn this team into a consistent winner."
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