A few days ago, it was reported that several people on Mike Pettine's staff got the impression that he was coaching his final game with the Cleveland Browns this week. Now, sources tell Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer that Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer are expected to be fired by owner Jimmy Haslam. The decision could come anywhere between the conclusion of the team's Week 17 finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Monday morning.
League sources said Haslam has already been laying the groundwork for their replacements. The competition will be fierce and he has to act fast. Interviews could be scheduled as quickly as Sunday night.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network supported Cabot's report:
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has already made the decision to fire coach Mike Pettine, multiple sources say, and it is likely general manager Ray Farmer will be shown the door, as well.
Rapoport also cites a couple of reports indicating how Pettine has long lost the locker room:
#Browns coach Mike Pettine lost Jimmy Haslam's confidence. Example: To players losing to KC, he guaranteed victory. They rolled their eyes— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 3, 2016
Another Pettine example: Before 2nd #Bengals game, he told players Saturday night he might be getting fired & they hadn't done their part.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 3, 2016
When you have players like OLB Paul Kruger saying this at the end of the season, too, it's clear that the players know the writing is on the wall:
Why is Mike Pettine on the hot seat? These 2 quotes from Paul Kruger speak volumes #Browns pic.twitter.com/AsWC8zsmnB— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) January 3, 2016
There could be as many as seven teams seeking new head coaches, including the 49ers, Browns, Colts, Dolphins, Giants, Saints, and Titans. With that type of competition, it sounds like Haslam wants to immediately pursue a new coach who is not in the playoffs, meaning he can interview -- and possibly hire -- them right away. That also means that for the second regime in a row, Haslam could have a situation in place where the general manager does not hire the head coach. We have a post up soon about some of the latest names entering the head coaching search for Cleveland, including Adam Gase of the Chicago Bears and -- get this -- former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. Buckle up, everybody!