Official: Browns announce hiring Freddie Kitchens as new head coach

Shalise Manza YoungYahoo Sports Contributor

The Cleveland Browns believe they finally have a franchise quarterback.

And now they’re hiring the man who seemed to get the best out of that quarterback as their head coach.

Browns announce Freddie Kitchens as head coach

Scroll to continue with content

The Browns have decided to promote from within and hire Freddie Kitchens as head coach. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen had the news first.

The 44-year-old Kitchens has seen his star rise incredibly quickly: just a couple of months ago, he had never been a coordinator at any level. But when the Browns fired Hue Jackson and Todd Haley in November, Kitchens was promoted to offensive coordinator.

An Alabama native who played quarterback at the University of Alabama, he coached at four colleges before entering the NFL coaching ranks in 2006 with the Dallas Cowboys as tight ends coach. He held the same role with the Arizona Cardinals from 2007-2012.

Kitchens remained with the Cardinals until 2017; he coached the quarterbacks from 2013-16, and the running backs in his final season. He joined the Browns in 2018.

Rookie Baker Mayfield and the offense seemed to respond to Kitchens: in the first eight games of the season, Cleveland averaged 20.6 points per game; over the final eight, with Kitchens in charge, that number was 23.7.

During that time, Mayfield threw 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions, with a second-half passer rating of 106.2. In the first half of the season, with Haley calling plays, he had a 78.9 rating with eight touchdowns and six interceptions.

Kitchens beat out Kevin Stefanski

Mary Kay Cabot of reported that the other finalist for the job was Kevin Stefanski, who finished the season as the Minnesota Vikings’ interim offensive coordinator.

Stefanski was in Cleveland on Tuesday for a second interview.

But the 36-year-old Stefanski will reportedly return to the Vikings as coordinator.

Gregg Williams relieved of duties

Not surprisingly, with Kitchens being hired as head coach, interim head coach Gregg Williams has been relieved of his duties.

Williams was hired by the Browns in 2017 as defensive coordinator and served as interim for the final eight games of the season.

The Cleveland Browns will reportedly name offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens as head coach of the team. (AP)
The Cleveland Browns will reportedly name offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens as head coach of the team. (AP)

More from Yahoo Sports:
Cowboys owner spends more for yacht than he did for team
Florida man arrested after late superfan’s family threatened
Driver in hockey tragedy pleads guilty
Cardinals’ hiring move: ‘What is pro football coming to?’

Subscribe to The Yahoo Sports NFL Podcast
Apple PodcastsStitcherGoogle Podcasts

What to Read Next