Ex-Browns coach: Haley thought he’d be interim coach when Hue was fired

Michael David Smith
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Former Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano, a longtime mentor to Todd Haley, says that Haley was expecting to be named Cleveland’s interim head coach when Hue Jackson was fired. Instead, Haley was fired too.

Rutigliano, who was the Browns’ head coach from 1978 to 1984 and has been described by Haley as an influential figure in his coaching career, said on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland that Haley thought he’d be Jackson’s replacement.

“Why did they fire Todd Haley?” Rutigliano said. “I talked to him on the phone. When he was going to the office he thought he was going to take over. And he got fired. . . . He said to me, ‘I had no idea. When I was going back into the office I thought possibly if they were going to let Hue Jackson go, that I would have the opportunity now to be the interim coach and then get the job eventually, and that’s why I came here.’ And then it went the opposite direction.”

Rutigliano said that Haley and Jackson never saw eye to eye, and that Jackson, with his 1-31 record in his first two years in Cleveland, shouldn’t have been telling Haley how to run the offense.

“I don’t think they had a relationship,” Rutigliano said. “You’re working with a guy who had one win and 31 losses and he’s going to tell you what to do? And he proved all three years that he was incompetent. He wasn’t qualified for the job.”

The 85-year-old Rutigliano still follows the Browns closely, and still has strong opinions about the team. And he clearly believes that the team is currently being run poorly.

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