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Browns

Players Dumbfounded By Chudzinski’s Demise After 1 Season

By DARYL RUITER, 92.3 The Fan Browns Beat Reporter
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Rob Chudzinski of the Cleveland Browns looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 29, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Browns 20-7. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Rob Chudzinski of the Cleveland Browns looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 29, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Browns 20-7. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

DarylRuiter_300 Daryl Ruiter
Cleveland Browns beat writer and member of the Pro Football Writers of...
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PITTSBURGH (92.3 The Fan) – Joe Thomas and D’Qwell Jackson, the 2 longest tenured Browns, have seen this movie before.

Time and time again.

And they still can’t believe how it ends – again.

Sunday night, less than 2 hours after the team returned to their Berea headquarters, head coach Rob Chudzinski was fired.

Within the Browns locker room the thought that Chudzinski could be fired was preposterous to even consider, but it happened.

“That’s ridiculous,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said after the game concerning reports that it was coming.

Thomas, who like Jackson has played for 4 different head coaches in 7 years, didn’t even want to entertain the thought.

“I’d be very surprised if they made a change and I’d be disappointed,” Thomas said.

Color Thomas surprised and disappointed, like many.

Chudzinski is out after 1 year.

An hour before the team’s season ending 20-7 loss to the Steelers, national reports, including the NFL Network where general manager Michael Lombardi worked for 5 years before returning to Cleveland, surfaced that Chudzinski’s job was in jeopardy.

“It sort of comes with the territory,” Chudzinski said following the game.

While Chudzinski downplayed the reports after the game, players were not happy that they are even out there or that the front office would even think of making another change.

“That’s absurd to me that a report would be out about a good coach like that,” Jackson said. “That’s crazy. That pisses me off in a sense.”

Owner Jimmy Haslam, CEO Joe Banner and Lombardi were not happy at how the team finished the season – and understandably so, but Chudzinski felt that they were all on the same page.

Sunday night he found out otherwise.

The Browns ended the season with their seventh straight loss – a new franchise record to end a year – and having dropped 10 of 11 following a 3-2 start.

“Nothing surprises me,” safety T.J. Ward said after the game. “I’ve been through 3 coaches.”

Tight end Jordan Cameron will believe it when he see’s it.

“I think coach Chud is awesome. He does a great job. I believe in him 100-percent,” Cameron said. “He’s got all the attributes a coach needs. He’s a fighter. He’s resilient.

“We believe in him. I believe in him. I’d be upset if that happened.”

Chudzinski said after the game that he did not have any conversations about his future with Haslam, Banner or Lombardi but expected to return.

That was until he got on the team bus back to Cleveland.

2013 was yet another year of change for the Browns – new coaches, new offense and defense, more new players, a dramatic roster change within the season including the trade of running back Trent Richardson after just 2 games and oh yea, 3 different starting quarterbacks.

Thomas feels that’s a lot for any coaching staff to deal with, let alone one in their full first season.

“I think he’s has done a good job,” Thomas said. “If you fired coaches after one bad season, it’s not like we won the Superbowl last year… We had tremendous changes philosophy wise, offense, defense, so many different players we brought in, traded away a lot of draft picks in the spring looking forward to the future to build a consistent winner.

“To get that consistent winning is by having consistency in the coaching staff and the philosophy of management.”

Consistency and winning are the 2 things that continue to elude the franchise since 1999.

Change is the only thing the Browns have perfected, along with losing.

And there is no end in sight.

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