CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Mike Pettine is set to return to the NFL’s coaching ranks after a 2-year hiatus since Browns owner Jimmy Haslam fired him on Jan. 1, 2016.
The Green Bay Packers are set to name Pettine their next defensive coordinator according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Pettine went 10-22 in 2 seasons as head coach of the Browns, including a 7-9 finish in 2014 that ranks as the third best finish to a season since the franchise returned in 1999. The Browns have won 1 game in 2 years since Pettine was fired under Hue Jackson.
When Pettine was hired in 2014 by the Browns, he received a 4-year contract with an option for a fifth. He had 2 years left on the deal, which expired at the end of 2017, when he was fired.
Pettine was a victim of the dysfunctional meat-grinder the Browns have become.
In 2014, the Browns drafted Johnny Manziel 22nd overall and during the season, despite a 7-4 record, the internal pressure to play Manziel boiled over. The desire to play Manziel, the struggles of veteran QB Brian Hoyer plus return of receiver Josh Gordon and injuries conspired to cause the Browns to lose their last 5 games and fall out of the playoff picture.
A 3-13 season followed in 2015 and Haslam cleaned house.
Then-GM Ray Farmer texted Pettine during games complaining about personnel and play-calling from the owner’s suite, which drew a hefty fine for the Browns and a 4-week suspension at the outset of the 2015 season for Farmer. The texting scandal and Manziel circus prompted then-offensive coordinator and current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan to request his release from his contract.
Farmer did not draft well and after passing on Khalil Mack in 2014, Pettine convinced him to draft cornerback Justin Gilbert eighth overall following a trade down with Buffalo at 4 and a move up with Minnesota from 9 to 8.
Pettine made his mark as a defensive coordinator for the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills but his defenses struggled under Jim O’Neil, who was hired by Pettine as defensive coordinator.
Pettine also authored one of the most memorable quotes for a Browns head coach in a Feb. 2015 in an interview with Bull and Fox on 92.3 The Fan.
“There’s no better feeling than winning,” Pettine said. “The food tastes better, the drinks taste better – and not to get too lewd, the sex is better.”
Pettine dealt with a 3-ring circus working for Haslam for 2 seasons, but after what’s transpired the last 2 years under his replacement, those feel like the good old days.