Mike Pettine, Cleveland Browns Part Ways

Scott PolacekFeatured Columnist

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine speaks with members of the media after an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 30-13. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund)
Scott Eklund/Associated Press

The Cleveland Browns announced they have parted ways with head coach Mike Pettine following the team's Week 17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam discussed his decision and also confirmed general manager Ray Farmer had been let go as well:

We’ve made this decision because we don’t believe our football team is positioned well for the future. We are all disappointed with where we are and I take full responsibility. We will approach the search for our next football coach and executives to lead our football operations with a clear vision regarding what we need to do to build a successful organization.

We will be methodical in looking for strong, smart leaders with high character who are relentlessly driven to improve our football team, willing to look at every resource possible to improve, and who embrace collaboration to ultimately make the best decisions for the Cleveland Browns. We are fully committed to bringing our fans the winning organization they so clearly deserve.

Mark Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer reported earlier on Sunday the Browns "will go hard" after Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reiterated Gase is a candidate, but he added Cleveland is expected to interview Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and former Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone. Pro Football Talk also reported former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is a candidate to "keep an eye on."

Cabot noted the defense ranks a dismal 29th in the league in points allowed per game and must improve in 2016 and beyond if the Browns hope to catch the Cincinnati Bengals and Steelers in the AFC North.

The offense also ranks 29th in the league in points per game and hasn’t been much better. But star receiver Josh Gordon has been suspended all season, and Johnny Manziel is still establishing himself as an improving NFL quarterback.

Pettine’s first year with the Browns was 2014, and he finished a respectable 7-9 with less talent than plenty of opponents. However, the 2015 campaign has been a nightmare in Cleveland with the record, off-field concerns with Manziel and even an embarrassing loss to the Baltimore Ravens on a last-second blocked field goal that led to a touchdown the other way.

The Browns are far behind the Bengals and Steelers and will be starting over heading into the 2016 campaign.