AFC North Notes: Browns, Baker Mayfield, Steelers

     

Browns

  • Seth Wickersham of ESPN reports that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam personally made the decision to hire Hue Jackson as their head coach in 2016, against the recommendation of the team’s executives.
  • According to Wickersham, the Browns’ executives voted 4-1 in favor of hiring Sean McDermott as their head coach after he reportedly “crushed” his interview and was known for being open to new ideas. Haslam, however, voted for Hue Jackson, given that he felt Jackson could relate better to players.
  • Wickersham says that Jackson was nervous about the Browns’ rebuilding plan, but also realized how hard it was to get a second chance as a head coach in the NFL.
  • Browns CSO Paul DePodesta wrote Haslam an email arguing that the Jackson hire went against many of the characteristics of successful coaches they had discussed and Sashi Brown told Haslam that he thought hiring Jackson would be a bad call. Now of this stopped Haslam, who proceeded to fly to Cincinnati and hire Jackson with the plan of him reporting to ownership.

Baker Mayfield

Browns HC Freddie Kitchens believes QB Baker Mayfield is “nowhere near” reaching his full potential.

He’s nowhere near where he’s going to be and where we’d like to get him,” said Kitchens, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “There are a lot of things that go into that from a knowledge standpoint, from a personnel standpoint, from a defensive standpoint – there are all kinds of factors that factor into that. We will start chipping away when they get back. We will keep our head down and keep working and we will see where we are at in January.

Steelers

Although Steelers owner Art Rooney II said two weeks ago it was “hard to envision” Antonio Brown returning to the team next season, he mentioned on Wednesday that he wants to meet with Brown to discuss their options.

There are a lot of factors we have to take into account on it,” Rooney said, via Joe Rutter.We’d have to sit down with Antonio and understand where he is and make sure he understands where we are. There is some work to do before we figure that out.”

  • Steelers owner Art Rooney II confirmed that they will bring in competition for K Chris Boswell this summer: “I would say at a minimum that (general manager) Kevin Colbert and his group will be looking to bring in some competition with Chris BoswellI think they’ll make something happen there and at least give him some competition for the kicking position.
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