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Report: Browns to hire Freddie Kitchens as new head coach

Freddie Kitchens

The Cleveland Browns’ head coaching search is over. They are hiring offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens to be their next head coach, Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports.

Kitchens beat out Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, who was one of the two finalists for the job.

The Browns interviewed former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy for the job. They were also strongly linked with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, although they never requested to interview him.

Kitchens took over as the team’s offensive coordinator after Todd Haley was fired halfway through this season. Meanwhile, Gregg Williams took over as interim head coach for Hue Jackson.

The Browns offense improved significantly under Williams and Kitchens. They averaged 24 points per game and went a respectable 5-3 in the second half of the season.

Kitchens’ work with rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield likely helped his case to get the job despite his total lack of head coaching experience. Mayfield threw 19 of his rookie record-setting 27 touchdown passes with Kitchens as his offensive coordinator. He grew in confidence in the second half of the year and showed the ability that made him the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft.

It remains to be seen whether Kitchens’ success with the Browns offense will translate to his new position as head coach. But the Browns are apparently confident in his abilities to do so given that they gave him the position ahead of more high-profile candidates based on half a season’s work with Mayfield and the team.