The Cleveland Browns have fired head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert, Jay Glazer of FOXSports.com reported in a series of Monday morning tweets.
Heckert, 45, joined the Browns organization in 2010 after spending nine seasons in the Philadelphia Eagles' personnel department and 10 seasons as a scout and personnel executive with the Miami Dolphins. The Browns went 14-34 in Heckert's three seasons, but the team's recent draft classes were widely regarded as the club added skill-position players such as quarterback Brandon Weeden, running back Trent Richardson and wide receiver Josh Gordon in the 2012 entry and supplemental drafts to go along with 2011 second round wide receiver Greg Little. Heckert bolstered the right side of the offensive line with 2010 third round guard Shawn Lauvao and 2012 second second round tackle Mitchell Schwartz. On the defensive side of the ball, Heckert drafted Joe Haden in the first round of the 2010 draft and brought in defensive linemen Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard in 2011.
"I leave the Browns feeling very good about many of the things we accomplished here and the direction in which I believe this team is headed," Heckert said. "Having been around this franchise growing up, I was really excited for the opportunity to come here three years ago, and I want to thank Randy Lerner and Mike Holmgren for making that possible. I also want to acknowledge many of the hard-working people in the Browns organization, especially our player personnel staff, who are outstanding at what they do and supported me immensely in my role. I wish the team nothing but the best as they move forward."
Shurmur replaced Eric Mangini in 2011 and went 9-23 in his two seasons as head coach. The writing was on the wall for both Heckert and Shurmur when the club was sold this year by Randy Lerner to Tennessee businessman Jimmy Haslam, who in turn hired former Eagles president Joe Banner to replace Mike Holmgren. Banner is expected to hire his own GM and will be a voice in the decision to hire the team's next head coach. Some of the names linked to the opening include Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien and current New England Patriots offensive coordinator and Ohio native Josh McDaniels.
“We felt that these moves were in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns and our future," Haslam said. “I enjoyed getting to know Tom and Pat over the past several months, and want to thank them, not just for their contributions to the Browns, but also the insight they were able to provide. They are both fine men and hope they have the best of success as they move forward with their careers.”
Neither Heckert nor Shurmur are expected to be out of work for very long. Heckert is a talented evaluator of talent and should land on his feet pretty quickly, while Shurmur could resume his career as an NFL offensive coordinator as his name has been linked to the Minnesota Vikings, who could part ways with Bill Musgrave.
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