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North Carolina QB, Mentor native Mitch Trubisky announces he'll enter April's NFL Draft

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 9, 2017

Will the Browns turn to a hometown hero as they search for their quarterback of the future?

North Carolina junior quarterback and Mentor native Mitch Trubisky announced Monday he'll enter April's NFL Draft.

"After much research, reflection and prayer, I have officially decided to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft," Trubisky wrote on Twitter. He also explained his decision on ThePlayersTribune.com.

Trubisky, Notre Dame junior quarterback and Toledo native DeShone Kizer and Clemson junior quarterback Deshaun Watson are widely considered the top-three quarterbacks in this year's draft class. Watson will face Alabama on Monday night in the College Football Playoff championship game.

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Marla Ridenour: Browns' Hue Jackson corrects mistake with hiring of Gregg Williams

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 8, 2017

1. As much as I have harped on lack of continuity as the Browns’ biggest issue since 1999, I have no problem with coach Hue Jackson replacing defensive coordinator Ray Horton with Gregg Williams.

2. While the organization hasn’t gone without a head coaching or coordinator change since the 2009 season ended, weak staff hires have been a continuing issue since the franchise’s rebirth.

3. Former Browns coach Bill Belichick set the standard with a staff that in 1993 included Nick Saban (now at Alabama), Kirk Ferentz (Iowa), John Mitchell (Steelers) and Scott O’Brien (retired from Patriots). Since then, there have been too many old friends and too few teachers of the game. Of Jackson’s assistants in 2016, senior offensive assistant/receivers coach Al Saunders was the standout and yet even under him four draft picks at that position showed little improvement as rookies.

4. The elephant in the room is the one-year suspension Williams served in 2012 for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal. Jackson vowed during a conference call Sunday that “we will not be having a Bountygate situation in Cleveland” and noted that’s behind Williams. “He has already paid the price for that,” Jackson said.

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Browns announce Gregg Williams replaces Ray Horton as defensive coordinator

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 8, 2017

On Sunday morning, the Browns formally announced what had been reported Saturday night: They fired defensive coordinator Ray Horton and replaced him with Gregg Williams of the Los Angeles Rams.

Coach Hue Jackson is scheduled to speak about the move during a conference call at noon Sunday.

Below is the news release from the team.

Cleveland Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson announced that Gregg Williams will join the team as defensive coordinator. Williams replaces Ray Horton, who has been relieved of his duties.

Williams has coached in the NFL for 26 years, including three as a head coach and 15 as a defensive coordinator. His defenses have finished in the top five in total defense five times, including the top defense in the NFL in 2000. Williams also oversaw a Saints defensive unit that won Super Bowl XLVI and a Titans defense that advanced to Super Bowl XXXIV.

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Clemson QB Deshaun Watson would be coached by Browns this month if he accepts Senior Bowl invite

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 7, 2017

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson would be coached by Hue Jackson and the Browns later this month if he accepts an invitation to participate in the Senior Bowl.

Watson, one of the top-rated QBs in April's draft, would practice with the Browns' staff for three days in Mobile, Ala., leading up to the exhibition game Jan. 28.

Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage made the revelation about Watson, a junior in terms of NCAA eligibility who has graduated from Clemson with a communications degree, during a radio interview Friday on WKNR (850-AM).

"Deshaun Watson is a graduate from Clemson," said Savage, a former Browns general manager. "He along with three other Clemson Tigers are underclassmen, but they've graduated, so they're eligible. The invite is on the table. We will find out probably next week whether he elects to play or not. But if he does play, he'll be on the South, and of course, the Cleveland Browns have the South team."

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Report: Browns associate head coach-offense Pep Hamilton considering leaving to join Michigan

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 7, 2017

Browns associate head coach-offense Pep Hamilton is considering leaving the organization to reunite with coach Jim Harbaugh at the University of Michigan, NFL Network reported Saturday morning.

A person familiar with the situation confirmed Michigan's interest in Hamilton.

Hamilton served as Harbaugh's wide receivers coach at Stanford in 2010 and became its offensive coordinator when Harbaugh left to coach the San Francisco 49ers. Now Michigan has an opening on its coaching staff after passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch left this week to take the offensive coordinator gig at UCLA.

Browns coach Hue Jackson is in charge of the offense and calls the plays, but Hamilton is his highest-ranking assistant on that side of the ball. Hamilton also handles the responsibilities of a quarterbacks coach, even though it isn't part of his title.

So Hamilton's departure would create a significant change on the staff, and the Browns are already considering firing defensive coordinator Ray Horton and replacing him with Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

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Browns have discussed firing defensive coordinator Ray Horton and could make move soon

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 6, 2017

Click here for an updated version of this story: Browns could fire defensive coordinator Ray Horton soon, replace him with Gregg Williams

Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton appears to be the fall guy for a 1-15 season.

The Browns have discussed firing Horton for a few days and could make the move soon.

Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reported Friday the Browns are making a change at defensive coordinator and added Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been offered the job and Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips also has been contacted about the vacancy.

The Rams and Broncos are conducting head-coaching searches. The Rams fired Jeff Fisher during the season, and Gary Kubiak retired this week as coach of the Broncos.

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Browns RB Isaiah Crowell voted FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 4, 2017

Browns running back Isaiah Crowell was voted the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week for his performance in Sunday's 27-24 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the season finale.

Crowell rushed for a career-high 152 yards on 19 carries (8.0 average) and had a run of 67 yards, the second-longest of his career. A blemish on an otherwise stellar day for Crowell was created when he lost a fumble at the Steelers' 3-yard line and Pittsburgh recovered with 56 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

He finished the season with a career-high 952 yards and seven touchdowns on 198 carries (4.8 average). He became the first Browns player to run for 100 yards or more four times in a season since Peyton Hillis did it five times in 2010, when he rushed for 1,177 yards.

As a result fo the award, $2,000 will be donated to the USO in Crowell's name.

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Browns to coach in Senior Bowl

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 3, 2017

Browns coach Hue Jackson wasn't bluffing Monday when he said he "would jump" at accepting an invitation to coach in the Senior Bowl.

It was announced Tuesday that the staffs of the Browns and Chicago Bears will coach in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 28 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

Jackson believes the opportunity to coach some of college football's best players will help the Browns prepare for April's draft. The Browns will be armed with several picks, including two in the first round (Nos. 1 and 12 overall) and the first selection of the second round (No. 33 overall).

"I’m excited about coaching the Senior Bowl," Jackson said in a news release. "They really do an outstanding job of getting great players to participate in the game. Obviously, this can be really beneficial to our organization by spending a week coaching some of the best players in college football while we are preparing for the draft.

"I always say coaching is all about teaching and putting players in the best environment to succeed. I really look at this as an opportunity to help these young men be at their best during a week in which they get to showcase their talents to the entire National Football League."

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How we should view the Browns after a disappointing season and what they should do at QB (podcast)

By Dan Kadar Published: January 3, 2017

On this week's Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com podacst we look back at the season finale for the Cleveland Browns.

Despite having several chances at gaining a victory the Browns lost yet again, finishing the season at 1-15. On this week's show, Nate Ulrich talks about how fans can take a glass half full or half empty approach.

Here's the short version of half full: At least the Browns didn't fire everyone this time.

And half empty: They were still 1-15 and a large rookie class mostly failed to deliver promise, let alone results.

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Browns season review news conference: Highlights from Hue Jackson, Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 2, 2017

The bigwigs of the Browns -- coach Hue Jackson, head of football operations Sashi Brown and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta -- held a news conference Monday afternoon to discuss the state of the team after it finished the 2016 season with a record of 1-15.

Below are some highlights.

#Browns HC Hue Jackson said he said goodbye to team today, nobody likes the record by any stretch, but he truly believes foundation is set

#Browns HC Hue Jackson said he's totally in lock-step with Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta in getting team fixed

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