Just one day after claiming that Mike Pettine was "the epitome of what we want Browns to be — tough, aggressive and innovative — with a blue-collar, team-first mentality", team owner Jimmy Haslam has changed course, firing the former Buffalo defensive coordinator after less than a full day on the job.
"Our fans deserve to see a consistently competitive team. We have high standards, and there's an urgency for success. When we believed we were not positioned to achieve significant progress in 2014, we knew we had to admit that a change was needed, and move forward."
Lifelong Browns fans weren't surprised - local union worker Fred Harris told us he wasn't surprised at all by the move.
"The guy hasn't won a single game as coach here. I've been watching the Browns for 27 years, and he's won fewer games as our coach than anyone I can remember. He had to go."
Pettine was called into a meeting this afternoon, shortly after enrolling his children in local schools and taking out a mortgage for a new home in Chagrin Falls, OH. It was there that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, CEO Joe Banner, team president Alec Scheiner and general manager Mike Lombardi informed Pettine of his dismissal.
Pettine becomes the third Browns coach to be fired in last 121/2 months, and the move will be perceived as a classic case of indecisiveness. Haslam has already emailed season-ticket holders, pleading for patience - only time will tell if they'll be rewarded.
A number of players expressed shock and dismay at the move. "It's just absurd to me that a good coach like that would be out so quick," Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said. "It's crazy, and that (ticked) me off when I heard it."
ProFootballChat.com reports that Pettine's staff has been retained for the moment, with assistant strength and conditioning coach Chris DiSanto taking over as interim HC.
"I'm just as confused as you are. I was just sitting at my desk playing minesweeper when Lombardi came in and told me I'm the acting head coach. I don't even know what our playbook looks like," DiSanto said.
Where do the Browns go from here? In an interview with ESPN radio Friday night, Adam Schefter cautioned people to “expect the unexpected” in the Browns’ coaching search.
It's currently unclear who Haslam has in mind to take over in Cleveland, but the embattled owner was spotted in Tuscaloosa last night having dinner with newly-appointed Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.