Cleveland Browns Pick Freddie Kitchens as Head Coach

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CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns will name Freddie Kitchens head coach Wednesday, a league source confirmed to 92.3 The Fan.

ESPN's Chris Mortenson was first to report the hire.

The 44-year-old Kitchens becomes the ninth full-time head coach in the expansion era and the fourth since the Haslams purchased the team in 2012.

Kitchens replaced Todd Haley as offensive coordinator on Oct. 29 after Haley and head coach Hue Jackson were fired, leading to a dramatic turnaround in the second half of the season that saw the team finish 5-3 over the final eight games.

Over the final eight games under Kitchens, Mayfield went 5-3 and completed 68.4 percent of his passes for 2,254 yards with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions while being sacked just five times. Under Haley, Mayfield was 1-4 as a starter while completing 58.3 percent of his passes for 1,471 yards with eight touchdowns and six interceptions while being sacked 20 times.

Cleveland averaged more yards and three more points per game with Kitchens calling plays, but critics argue that it was because the Browns faced some of the worst defenses in the league. They did not beat a single team with a winning record down the stretch.

Kitchens has worked with some distinguished names over the years starting as a grad assistant under Nick Saban at LSU in 2000, a tight ends coach for the Cowboys under Bill Parcells in 2006, and he spent 11 years in Arizona where he worked for Ken Whisenhunt and Bruce Arians.

The Browns declined multiple requests from teams to interview Kitchens for offensive coordinator openings. 

Cleveland interviewed seven candidates for the job before hiring Kitchens: Interim head coach Gregg Williams was the first to interview on Jan. 1 followed by former Lions and Colts head coach Jim Caldwell on Jan. 2, Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski Jan. 3, Saints assistant head coach and tight ends coach Dan Campbell on Jan. 4, Patriots linebacker coach Brian Flores on Jan. 5 and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus on Sunday.