The Cleveland Browns fired head coach Freddie Kitchens on Sunday evening, hours after his team lost at Cincinnati to finish the season 6-10.
Owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, who will be searching for a sixth full-time head coach since they bought the team in 2012, thanked Kitchens in a statement but added that they “did not see the success or opportunities for improvement to move forward” with Kitchens.
“Our focus is on hiring an exceptional leader for this football team and we will take a comprehensive approach to this process,” the statement continued. “We are excited about the core players we have to build around and develop and we look forward to bringing in a strong head coach that will put this group of players in the best position to succeed.”
General manager John Dorsey added in a statement: “I would like to thank Freddie for his dedication and efforts this past season. We are disappointed in our results and feel a change is necessary. Freddie is a good man and a good football coach. We wish he and his family nothing but the best.”
The move ends Kitchens’ tenure as Cleveland’s head coach after just one season. The Browns promoted Kitchens in January after quarterback Baker Mayfield and the offense excelled under his watch as interim offensive coordinator for the second half of 2018.
But that progress stalled this season, despite the offseason addition of wideout Odell Beckham Jr., as Mayfield finished with 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions after totaling 27 and 14, respectively, as a rookie.
Beckham finished with 74 catches for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games, all career lows for any season in which he played at least 12 games.
Kitchens, 45, joined the Browns as associate head coach and running backs coach in 2018 before his promotion to interim offensive coordinator following the firing of head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. He had spent the previous 11 years with Arizona after one year with Dallas in 2006.
The Haslams officially took ownership of the Browns during the 2012 season. They fired Pat Shurmur after that campaign, then fired Rob Chudzinski after one season in 2013. Mike Pettine lasted two years before Jackson was hired. He went 1-31 through two seasons before being fired after a 2-5-1 start in 2018.
The Browns also have had four different leaders of the personnel department during the Haslams’ tenure.
Various reports this week suggested Dorsey’s job is not necessarily assured moving forward.