The Freddie Kitchens era in Cleveland is over after just one season. The Browns fired their rookie head coach Sunday, according to Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Browns are now officially the third team to can their head coach, and more will be coming shortly.
Kitchens’ firing represents an epic rise and fall, as he rose from a little known position coach to be the head man in Cleveland. He started last year as the Browns’ running backs coach, then took over as offensive coordinator after Todd Haley was fired. Baker Mayfield had a lot of success during the second half of 2018 for which Kitchens received a ton of credit, and GM John Dorsey gave him the full-time job to succeed Hue Jackson after the season.
The Kitchens era started off with a lot of fanfare. Cleveland had an eventful offseason, completing a blockbuster trade for Odell Beckham Jr., and there was an absurd amount of hype surrounding the team. Expectations got so high that it would’ve been hard for anyone to deliver, but Kitchens’ tenure was still a disaster by any standard. Things got off to a terrible start with a blowout loss to the Titans in their opener, and they never recovered.
Mayfield regressed considerably, and Beckham was never able to get fully integrated into the offense. There were a number of incidents that created the perception that Kitchens had lost control of the team, like Myles Garrett‘s indefinite suspension or Beckham reportedly telling other teams to ‘come get him.’
It had been widely reported that Kitchens was on the hot seat, and an embarrassing loss to the Bengals in Week 17 seemed to seal his fate. It still came as a surprise to him though, as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that an “emotional” Kitchens told him on the phone that he “believed he had organizational support.”
Kitchens was in a meeting with owner Jimmy Haslam and Dorsey, a source told Josina Anderson of ESPN.com, which would seem to indicate Dorsey is safe despite some recent speculation to the contrary. Dorsey later issued a statement through the Browns on Twitter, confirming he isn’t going anywhere.
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