Remember Hue Jackson? The coach that the Cleveland Browns fired after going 3-36-1? He didn’t get another job in the NFL in the last round of coach and assistant hires, but he still wants one.
Jackson was on Charlotte’s WFNZ 102.5 FM on Wednesday and discussed his desire to be a head coach again, or any kind of NFL coach. Not surprisingly, he thinks he deserves a shot.
“Oh, yeah, I mean I think I can. I mean, just because the situation in Cleveland [didn’t work out] doesn’t mean that you can’t coach. There’s a lot of great coaches who came before me that coached there and went on and did great things. Sometimes, the situation is different. I think if people dig in and really take the time to look at the overall situation there, maybe they would understand it more. At the same time, I understand what narrative gets put out there, that’s what people know. Hopefully, people will think back to the times when I’ve put myself in that position. I had to be doing something right. To go back and be a coordinator again or be a head coach, I do believe it’s in my future. I’ve just got to go work through the process and see where it goes.”
Despite his overall record (he was 8-8 with the Oakland Raiders when he coached them in 2011, he doesn’t want to be remembered as the guy who couldn’t win, or the guy who didn’t name Baker Mayfield the starting quarterback in Week 1. He wants to be remembered for other, less unflattering things. He also wants to be remembered for taking on tough teams and trying, though not always succeeding, to make them better. Here’s what he said when he was asked about his own narrative:
“Here’s a guy who knows how to overcome. There’s a lot of people who would run from it all. I’m not going to run from it. At the end of the day, our staff and the people who led Cleveland, that doesn’t mean those coaches can’t coach or they don’t understand what they’re doing. Maybe that just wasn’t the right fit, the right situation for that group, and they just need to have the right opportunity to have success.”
Jackson isn’t going to have control over what he’s remembered for, so despite his wishes he’s probably going to be remembered as the guy who won three games over 2 1/2 seasons with the Browns. But Jackson’s been in football for 35 years, and there’s a lot more to his legacy than just Cleveland. People might remember him for all the losing initially, but once they look a little deeper they’ll find more of what Jackson was talking about.
Unfortunately, the things he did in the NFL most recently were lose a lot of games with Cleveland, and serve on Marvin Lewis’ coaching crew with the sad, going-nowhere Cincinnati Bengals. Not the best things to have at the top of your coaching résumé. Jackson might want another head coaching job in the NFL, but with young guys like Kliff Kingsbury and Sean McVay getting the nod these days, it seems like Jackson’s time may be over.
But you never know. Some team might fire their head coach midseason just like the Browns did, and maybe Jackson will find himself back in the saddle again. For purely entertainment reasons, we should all be pulling for that to happen.
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