As Browns players cleaned out their lockers Monday and prepared to head home for the offseason, a few of them reflected on the firing of coach Rob Chudzinski after just one season on the job.
Below is a sampling of their reactions.
Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon
On Chudzinski’s firing: “It’s unfortunate. I don’t think it was a real good situation for him to fall into because he didn’t know. We didn’t know. I can’t say what’s fair, what’s not fair. The NFL, it’s the business of the league. But I thought he would have more time than that.”
On whether he was surprised by the move: “I figured any coach in the NFL would get at least two [years]. I didn’t even know that was possible.”
On the state of the organization: “In Cleveland, people really want to see this team do well. I know the owner wants to see the team do well. The players want to win. Everybody has the right mindset. It’s just so many things snowball right now in the wrong way. We’re trying to pick it up and get on the right path.”
On Chudzinski addressing the players Monday: “He was here for us. He’s always going to have our back. [He said] if we ever need anything to call him. He was definitely emotional about it. He kept together his last few words and what he wanted to install and instill in us here. He still believes in us and wishes he had the opportunity to coach us again. He kept it professional.”
On how the players felt about Chudzinski: “The guys here really bought into him. The guys loved him. Like anything, it’s going to grow on you. You learn to appreciate what he did for us here. The guys needed structure and he brought that here.”
Rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo
On Chudzinski’s firing: “I’m just shocked. I guess nobody in this locker room really expected it. We all enjoyed coach Chud and how he coached us and how he was as a person, but this comes to show you that if you’re not producing, then things change. And obviously they wanted a change in the front office, and it’s their decision and we’re just hoping for the best for next season.”
On whether players are dumbfounded: “We just don’t know what to expect. The uncertainty is everywhere in this locker room, guys not knowing if they are going to be back next year, not knowing if any coaches are going to stay or be back. So [there is] a lot of not knowing.”
Right guard Shawn Lauvao
On whether players have a hard time believing another coach has been fired: “At this point, man, I feel like a lot of things are going on. Guys who are young, it’s going over their head. But I’d say for a lot of guys who’ve been here for a while, who are established, to them it just gets hard because a lot of times it feels like it is a reset button. … It’s hard to believe that. This is the NFL. It is a production-based league. It is a Janet Jackson world — What Have You Done For Me Lately. At the end of the day, the powers that be, it’s their decision, so we’ve just got to stick by it.”
Outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard
On whether players are concerned about instability: “That’s crazy. I would like to have a coach that I could stay with, but that’s not in my control.”
— Nate Ulrich