BEREA, OHIO (AP) - The Browns are changing again.
Shurmur and Heckert were informed Monday at the team’s facility, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not yet announced the moves. The expected dismissals come one day after the Browns lost their finale 24-10 in Pittsburgh, completing a 5-11 season.
Shurmur went 9-23 in his two seasons with the Browns, who will embark on yet another offseason of change _ the only constant in more than a decade of futility. Cleveland has lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons and made the playoffs just once since returning to the NFL as an expansion team in 1999.
The Browns just can’t seem to get it right.
The firings of Shurmur and Heckert signal the start of an expected overhaul by new owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner, who have spent the past two months identifying possible replacements for their top two football positions.
Already, the list of possible coaches to take over for Shurmur includes some of college football’s top names. Haslam may want to make a big splash and land either Alabama’s Nick Saban or Oregon’s Chip Kelly, who both still have bowl games ahead. Penn State’s Bill O’Brien is also believed to be on the Browns‘ short list.
There is also reported interest in several NFL assistants including Indianapolis’ Bruce Arians, New England’s Josh McDaniels, Denver’s Mike McCoy, Washington’s Kyle Shanahan and Cincinnati’s Jay Gruden.
Among the general manager candidates are: Atlanta player personnel director David Caldwell, San Francisco director of player personnel Tom Gamble, Baltimore assistant GM Eric DeCosta and NFL Network analyst and Mike Lombardi, who worked with Banner in Philadelphia and for the Browns when Bill Belichick was Cleveland’s coach.
Banner promised in a recent interview with The Associated Press not to put any limits on his search for a new coach.
“It doesn’t have to be a college coach,” said Banner, who hired Andy Reid during his 19 seasons with the Eagles. “It doesn’t have to be a pro coach. It doesn’t have to be an offensive guy. It doesn’t have to be a defensive guy. I’m more looking for qualities of a person consistent with the most successful coaches.”
Cleveland was still in the playoff mix earlier this month, but a three-game losing streak to close the season _ they were blown out by Washington and Denver in consecutive weeks _ ended any chance of Shurmur saving his job.