After compiling a dreadful record with the Cleveland Browns, Hue Jackson is without an NFL gig for the 2019 season. Given his 3-36-1 record in two and a half seasons in Cleveland and the odd 8-8 year with the Oakland Raiders in 2011, it'd seem Jackson would be hard-pressed to convince an owner to give him another shot.
"Oh, yeah, I mean I think I can," Jackson said, via Pro Football Talk. "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."
Once viewed as the prime candidate to succeed Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati, Jackson's public reputation got ripped to shreds during his stint in Cleveland. The stench of the 0-16 season will follow him everywhere. The record is bad enough to make it hard for an owner to sell him to the public. Even worse than the three wins in Cleveland might be quarterback Baker Mayfield's very public rebuke of Jackson's style -- something owners would take note of and weigh heavily -- and the troubling back-and-forth meetings shown during HBO's Hard Knocks last training camp.
Yet it only takes one team, and one owner to be convinced the circumstances had more to do with Jackson's poor tenure than his ability to coach.
"Here's a guy who knows how to overcome," Jackson said when asked his narrative. "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 would likely have to do heavy image rehab, starting with landing a lower-level coaching gig in order for a team to even think of giving him another shot. In a league where coaches are constantly recycled, perhaps there is a chance for the 53-year-old to build back up his crippled image. It will take a lot of time, and a massive sell job to the public for that to happen. Even then, it'd be a stunner if Jackson landed another head coaching gig in the NFL.