The Cleveland Browns have officially called on former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson to be their head coach.
Jackson was supposed to be on his way to New York on Wednesday evening to interview for a position with the New York Giants, according to ESPN, and the San Francisco 49ers were interested in him as well.
The owner of the Browns, Jimmy Haslam, was not present at Tuesday’s NFL owners meeting in Houston, but he sent his wife, Dee, in his place. He stayed in Cleveland to finalize the deal with Jackson, according to reports.
“It’s very exciting for us to name Hue Jackson as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns,” Jimmy Haslam said in a statement on Wednesday. “He embodies all the qualities that will provide strong leadership for our football team. He is highly experienced, deeply passionate about winning, and relentless in trying to find ways to put his players in the best position to succeed. He possesses that unique ability to reach the entire locker room in a way that demands accountability while getting the buy-in and team-first mentality that leads to positive results. I think our players will love playing for him. Dee and I warmly welcome Hue and his family to Cleveland.”
Although Haslam is very excited for Jackson to merge with the Browns, it is uncertain whether everyone will share that excitement. But Jackson doesn’t seem to mind.
“I think there’s a perception of what people think I am,” said Jackson, according to USA Today. “I laugh about some of things that get said sometimes, just because I wouldn’t be where I am today if a lot of those things were true.
“Everybody’s not going to like you. I’m not for everybody. Everybody’s not for me. I get that. Who is perfect for every opportunity that’s out there? My challenge (to teams) has always been: ‘Come find out.’”
Jackson played quarterback at the University of the Pacific before he joined their coaching staff in 1987, ESPN reports. He was an assistant at Arizona State, Cal and Southern Cal as well before he made his way to the NFL as offensive coordinator for Washington in 2003.
He was then sent to Cincinnati where he coached a receiving corps including T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson.
In 2010, he served as the Oakland Raiders’ offensive coordinator before becoming head coach. He was fired after one season and returned to Cincinnati.
The Bengals had the NFL’s sixth-best rushing attack in 2014 and the No. 7 scoring offense in 2015 with Jackson as offensive coordinator.
And now, he’s off to Cleveland. How will he do?
According to USA Today’s Tom Pelissero, he “can rub some people the wrong way. But what he brings as a coach is evident every day: passion, accountability, schematic flare.” He added that the Browns “finally have a coach who at least is equipped to be the right one.”