CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns, as expected, relieved Pat Shurmur and Tom Heckert of their duties on Monday morning.
“We felt that these moves were in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns and our future. I enjoyed getting to know Tom and Pat over the past several months, and want to thank them, not just for their contributions to the Browns, but also the insight they were able to provide. They are both fine men and hope they have the best of success as they move forward with their careers,” said owner Jimmy Haslam.
Shurmur said in a statement released by the team, “I am extremely proud of the players on this team, who I felt made tremendous strides and helped to make the Cleveland Browns relevant again. I want to thank them, as well as my entire coaching staff for making the past two years enjoyable. My coaches are outstanding teachers and even better men. They helped me lead these players through a unique time of transition. This group of players will achieve success soon, and there will be a part of me that will feel very good when that happens.”
The firings had been rumored for weeks, and were made official shortly before Shurmur met with the players at 10 a.m.
FOX 8 cameras caught Shurmur carrying boxes out of the facility in Berea after the Browns lost to the Steelers in the season finale on Sunday.
Shurmur loaded the boxes into his car and drove off.
Cleveland finished up a 5-11 season that followed a 4-12 campaign in 2011. The 2012 season ended with a 24-10 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Heckert had this to say upon his release: “I leave the Browns feeling very good about many of the things we accomplished here and the direction in which I believe this team is headed. Having been around this franchise growing up, I was really excited for the opportunity to come here three years ago, and I want to thank Randy Lerner and Mike Holmgren for making that possible.”
The Browns search begins for a coach immediately. Haslam said the coach will be the most important hire and will have to have great chemistry with the general manager/personnel chief.
Oregon’s Chip Kelly, and Alabama’s Nick Saban are two big name college coaches mentioned, but the Browns owner said the process will be a private one, and that they will not comment on rumors, and that the only people who know who is on the short list of candidates is “sitting up here in front of you”, (meaning Haslam and Banner).
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