The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

January 11, 2013

Browns name Rob Chudzinski new coach

(Continued)

CLEVELAND —

Chudzinski wasn't seen by many as an option.

And then he became the choice.

Chudzinski interviewed with the team on Wednesday, when the club also visited with Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Chudzinski appeared to be a long shot for the job, not because he wasn't qualified, but because it was thought Haslam wanted to make a big splash with his first coaching hire.

However, Chudzinski wowed Haslam and Banner during his meeting and the team decided it was time to end its search in its second week.

It's not yet known whom Chudzinski will bring in as coordinators. There are reports he may hire former San Diego coach Norv Turner to run his offense. Chudzinski worked for Turner with the Chargers.

In his first season in Carolina, Chudzinski turned Newton, the No. 1 overall draft pick, loose and the Panthers set club records for total yards (6,237) and first downs (345). Carolina also scored 48 touchdowns after getting just 17 in the season before Chudzinski arrived. The Panthers jumped from last in the league in total yardage to seventh, the biggest improvement since 1999.

Following the season, Chudzinski interviewed for head coaching jobs with St. Louis, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay before returning to Carolina.

In getting the Browns' job, Chudzinski was picked over Zimmer, Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman, fired Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt and Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Whisenhunt was in Cleveland for a second interview on Thursday, and appeared to be the front-runner. The Browns also were expected to interview Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

Newton continued to develop in his second season with Chudzinski, and the QB's development may have helped his case since the Browns are hoping Brandon Weeden will improve this year after his uneven rookie season.

After his first stint on Cleveland's staff, Chudzinski spent two seasons as San Diego's tight ends coach, working with perennial Pro Bowl standout Antonio Gates.

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