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NFL: Browns fire coach after loss to Steelers

by TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer on December 30, 2013 10:59 AM

CLEVELAND — Rob Chudzinski’s dream job turned out to be temporary gig.

The Browns fired Chudzinski on Sunday night after just one season. It was a stunningly swift and shocking exit for the Ohio native who learned all about sports heartbreak while cheering for Cleveland teams as a kid. He wanted to be the one to turn the Browns into consistent winners.

Like five other coaches since 1999, he failed.

Nobody discards coaches quite like the Browns, who cited “a concerning step backward in the second half of the year” in their decision to dump Chudzinski, who was let go just a few hours after a 20-7 loss in Pittsburgh — the Browns’ seventh straight defeat and 10th in 11 games.

The Browns have fired four coaches since 2008, a disturbing trend that perhaps best explains why the team has made the playoffs just once since their expansion rebirth 14 years ago. Chudzinski didn’t even have a full year to fix the Browns (4-12), who have become one of the league’s laughingstocks because of the endless turmoil.

While introducing Chudzinski on Jan. 10, owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner touted the 45-year-old as one of the game’s bright young offensive minds and they were confident the lifelong Browns fan had the necessary skills and drive to turn the team into a consistent winner.

Now, they’re looking for someone new. Chudzinski was let go with three years left on his contract.

The Browns scheduled a press conference for 12:30 p.m. today at their Berea, Ohio, headquarters to explain the decision to dismiss Chudzinski.

• Also, the Vikings fired Leslie Frazier on Monday, and the Redskins let go of Mike Shanahan.

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