It’s hard to have much sympathy for former Cleveland Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson, whom, amazingly enough, I actually thought would do a good job based on his work as an offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. But when you have literally the second-worst coaching record in NFL history—and the worst since World War II, as the worst belongs to Bert Bell from 1936 to 1941—and you act like an ass on top of it, well…
I’m sure most of you have seen clips going around from Hard Knocks of some of the coaches meetings that Jackson led. The big one was where he heavily talked down to a new, young coach who was trying to present an idea. Jackson was condescending and appealed to his own authority as to why his answer was the right one. That coach was Freddie Kitchens.
It wasn’t just the coaches who were, or felt, disrespected by the former head coach, however, and he burned even more bridges in Cleveland following his dismissal after he took a job as a senior assistant with the Bengals during the same season in which he was fired.
Third-year tight end David Njoku recently told Rich Eisen, “obviously we weren’t happy about what Hue said about us after he left. It is what it is. Baker didn’t appreciate that, so we came together after Hue left and took it upon ourselves to work extra hard to finish the year off strong”.
After he was fired, Jackson started doing the media rounds in which he seemingly waived responsibility for everything that possibly could have gone wrong during his tenure, which saw him win three games and draw one tie in 40 contests. That included the decision to trade out of the spot in which Carson Wentz was drafted.
The next time the Browns played the Bengals, after Jackson was hired, his former players made sure to put it to him. When safety Damarious Randall picked off Andy Dalton, he immediately ran to the Bengals’ sideline (where he was already positioned) and handed the ball directly to Jackson.
“It’s not like we’re robots”, Njoku said. “We felt in a way disrespected. So it is what it is”.
After everything went down, Mayfield called Jackson a “fake”, for which he received a decent amount of criticism at the time. “I’m not looking for anybody’s approval”, he said of his decision to make that comment after the fact. “I don’t regret any of it”.
Of course, Mayfield already has a history of speaking his mind, and earlier this offseason, he rubbed some of his veteran teammates the wrong way with how he spoke of teammate Duke Johnson, who requested a trade, responding to which, he basically said that you’re all in or you’re not with us.
The Browns are heading into a big season with their second-year first-overall quarterback and freshly loaded up on Pro Bowl talent on both sides of the ball. Expectations are at an all-time high. And I’m sure Kitchens most of all is ready to move on from anything to do with Jackson.