Bob Wylie became an unintentional celebrity last year by virtue of the Cleveland Browns’ participation in the Hard Knock series. Wylie was the team’s offensive line coach at the time, and his personality matched with his appearance attracted a lot of attention.
He also helped coach an offensive line that saw major improvement over the course of the season, a line with a lot of moving parts that included the retirement of Joe Thomas. The line was quite bad in the first half of the year, but was significantly better down the stretch.
That didn’t help him get re-hired after Freddie Kitchens, who was the running backs coach-turned-interim offensive coordinator, was promoted to head coach this offseason. Most of the staff was cleaned out, in fact.
A short time ago, Wylie spoke to CBS Radio and shared his own thoughts about how the organization has moved on since last year, indicating that he felt Gregg Williams, the defensive coordinator who served as interim head coach after Hue Jackson was fired, should have been named the head coach, crediting him with having “turned the team around”.
If Kitchens, Wylie said that Baker Mayfield’s relationship with him must have been a big factor in the decision to hire him as head coach, crediting Ken Zampese, who was the quarterbacks coach, for doing “all the coaching there”.
While Kitchens tried to be respectful in addressing these remarks, he clearly was not happy with them. “Bob doesn’t wear brown and orange anymore”, he said. “I had the opportunity to hire Bob. I didn’t want to. I went to the hospital to see Bob every week. At what point does Bob realize it was the players” who were responsible for the turnaround? He later also suggested that he wanted to be made to feel relevant.
In his defense, Kitchens is a young, novice head coach who essentially had his credentials questioned. Not just his resume, but specifically the body of work that led to him getting his current job, with Wylie insinuating that it was other coaches who did much of the heavy lifting for Kitchens’ improved offense.
And he was in the middle of coaching a practice on a team with a number of new and significant pieces, trying to install new offenses and new defenses, only to be asked about comments made by a former coach. That’s not ideal.
Interestingly enough, he was so displeased with what Wylie said that after he was asked about it, he went off on a tangent to say that anybody on his staff who leaked information to the media, when found, would be immediately fired. “The days of inside information and the days of unnamed sources and stuff like that have ended”, he said.
But perhaps instead of the drama leaking out into the media through unnamed sources, it will now just be out in the open, which doesn’t sound to be any preferable.