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Cleveland Browns hire Hue Jackson as head coach


The Cleveland Browns are staying in Ohio for their next head coach.

The Browns have hired Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson as the successor to Mike Pettine, the team announced Wednesay. NFL Media columnist Michael Silver first reported the news.

"They made me feel comfortable," Jackson told Silver.

Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam skipped the NFL's Los Angeles relocation vote on Tuesday to lure Jackson, his No. 1 target in the coaching search. Jackson was also a candidate for the 49ers and Giants, but the Browns offered "significant personnel control," NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

"(Jackson) embodies all the qualities that will provide strong leadership for our football team," Haslam said in a statement released by the team. "He is highly experienced, deeply passionate about winning, and relentless in trying to find ways to put his players in the best position to succeed. He possesses that unique ability to reach the entire locker room in a way that demands accountability while getting the buy-in and team-first mentality that leads to positive results."

Jackson went 8-8 with an undermanned 2011 Raiders squad in his lone head coaching stint, but took backlash for orchestrating a Carson Palmer trade that paid few dividends for Oakland.

He ultimately landed in Cincinnati as assistant secondary and special teams coach in 2012, teaching defense for the first time in his career. He then worked his way back up the coaching ladder, assuming coordinator duties after Jay Gruden was hired by the Redskins in 2014.

Already well respected for his work with wide receivers and running backs, Jackson earned praised for elevating Andy Dalton into the MVP discussion and getting backup AJ McCarron ready to play meaningful games in a playoff race.

"We're happy to help Hue," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis recently told Silver. "We know how rough it was for him four years ago, when he basically went through hell, and how hard it was for him to work his way out of that. He has been a great addition to our staff for four years, in ways that people don't even understand.

"Now, he's getting the attention he deserves, and we're very happy for him. We want to support him in any way we can."

Silver even reported that Lewis approached Jackson with a last-ditch proposal to keep him in Cincinnati via a succession plan.

Although Jackson is known as a charismatic leader and a "player's coach," he also gets high marks for toughness and offensive strategy.

"I wasn't even playing in 2011 when Hue was head coach, and you don't always feel a part of things. But Hue made it fun every single time," Browns quarterback/wide receiver Terrelle Pryor said earlier this week. "It would be great choice, I can tell you that."

Considering his success with Cincinnati's quarterbacks, it will be interesting to see if Jackson believes he can salvage the future of Johnny Manziel. That, however, does not seem to be the case as Rapoport reported the hire will trigger the end for the star-crossed QB, and the team will move on from Manziel.

Silver, a close friend of Jackson, stated Wednesday on NFL Network that he couldn't imagine any coach "hitching his wagon" to Manziel right now.

With the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jackson has the opportunity to handpick the next face of the franchise. He has close ties to the Bay Area, where Cal's Jared Goff starred in college.

This is a strong hire for an unstable Browns organization in need of direction.


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