In a letter posted on Browns.com, team owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam confirmed that they have relieved head coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer of their duties.
The letter itself is pretty standard for the dismissal of a head coach and general manager. You can follow all of our Browns head coaching and general manger rumors in our StoryStream here. The full letter can be seen below.
Heading into the season, I never thought that Pettine and Farmer, particularly Pettine, would be shown the door. He had a great start to his first season as head coach in 2014, when the club was 7-4. However, the Browns lost their final five games, and then went 3-13 in 2015. I said that the only way I could see Pettine fired was if the team finished worst in the NFL, and that Pettine's utilization of players and management skills came into question. Too many times this season, that was the case. So, even though Haslam made the following statement on August 1st...
Jimmy Haslam on August 1st. Weeeeeee!!!! https://t.co/EjfBdDd5aZ— Bottlegate (@Bottlegate) January 4, 2016
...I think fans support the changes this time around. This isn't the same quick trigger that took place with Rob Chudzinski, and to an extent Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi.
The searches are officially on. Haslam is expected to hold a press conference at 8:00 PM ET with the Cleveland media.
UPDATE (7:35 PM): According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, the Browns want to have a GM in place before they begin their coaching search, which they want to begin ASAP. Therefore, it's possible that Haslam will announce some of the front office changes tonight:
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam could announce a restructured front office soon. Strong internal support for chief counsel Sashi Brown to be GM...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 4, 2016
Move would likely include current exec Morocco Brown in a top evaluating position. Likely not a complete front office house-cleaning...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 4, 2016
Haslam is meeting with the media at 8pm where he may announce changes. Team plans to hire GM first before launching coach search— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 4, 2016
Back in May 2014, the Browns hired Morocco Brown as VP of Player Personnel, and Bill Kurarich as Executive Chief of Staff. Brown had been an up-and-coming personnel guy, with it being viewed as a mistake by the Redskins that they did not elevate him to a higher role before Cleveland stole him away. At the time, La Canfora had said, "Morocco Brown has been considered for GM jobs and is well positioned to be running his own team one day. Big loss for the Skins."
UPDATE (8:30 PM): We have a new thread posted on notes from Haslam's press conference this evening. Lots of new stuff in there.