The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

December 31, 2012

Browns fire coach Pat Shurmur, GM Tom Heckert

BEREA —  The Browns are changing again.

One day after ending yet another dismal season with a loss in Pittsburgh, Cleveland fired coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert, the first moves in what is expected to be a massive offseason overhaul by new owner Jimmy Haslam.

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 a renovation by Haslam and CEO Joe Banner, who will immediately begin looking for replacements.

"We felt that these moves were in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns and our future," Haslam said in a statement. "I enjoyed getting to know Tom and Pat over the past several months, and want to thank them, not just for their contributions to the Browns, but also the insight they were able to provide."

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.

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