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GM Dorsey in charge of the Browns coaching search

By MARY KAY CABOT • Nov 9, 2018 at 2:31 PM

CLEVELAND — Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam have officially turned their fourth coaching search over to general manager John Dorsey, a league source told cleveland.com.

Contrary to conflicting information about Dorsey’s role, he’ll lead the charge and will have full authority to conduct it any way he wants — and make his first career coaching hire.

It remains to be seen if he’ll enlist the services of a search firm, but he has a strong team around him that includes Assistant General Manager Eliot Wolf and Vice President of Player Personnel Alonzo Highsmith, who both worked with Dorsey in Green Bay. He’ll also receive input from others in the organization, including Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta and Vice President of Player Personnel Andrew Berry.

The Haslams will have input in the collaborative process, but Dorsey will drive the decision.

Does this mean that the Haslams will have the new head coach report directly to Dorsey instead of JImmy Haslam? That has yet to be determined, but the fact they’re letting him lead the search is a good sign.

Dorsey, if he so chooses, could get input from his former boss Ron Wolf, the Pro Football Hall of Fame executive (and Eliot’s father). He also has a longstanding relationship with former Browns general manager Ernie Accorsi, who’s been a consultant for several NFL teams.

The Haslams, who used the search firm of Korn Ferry to hire Hue Jackson, selected Dorsey to conduct the search because of his array of contacts at the college and NFL level throughout his 26 years' experience in the NFL. As a longtime NFL scout with the Packers, he developed strong relationships not only with college coaches and assistants, but with athletic directors and other team officials that can help him with due diligence on candidates.

During his 21 years with the Packers, one year with the Seahawks and four years as GM of the Chiefs, Dorsey has gotten to know most of the other NFL head coaches and assistants in the NFL over the years, and has earned a reputation as a premiere talent evaluator and team executive.

The fact that Dorsey is conducting the search makes the job more attractive to some candidates leery of a job in which the last five head coaches have lasted 2 1/2 years or less, with one, Rob Chudzinski, getting only a year, one NFL coach told cleveland.com. In his 26 seasons, Dorsey has been involved in 19 playoff teams, 11 divisional titles, three conference championships and two Super Bowl victories.

The job is also enticing to some because of quarterback Baker Mayfield, who’s showing strong signs of being the Browns' long-awaited franchise quarterback.

There could be half-dozen head coaching vacancies this offseason, which will make competition for candidates fierce. Dorsey will look to the college ranks, where two of the biggest names are Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, and he’ll look hard at the NFL, where he’s undoubtedly compiled a short list over the years.

Candidates will likely come from places he’s worked, such as Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub and Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy. His old associate Mike McCarthy, the Packers head coach, could be on the hot seat, as could Ravens coach John Harbaugh. Jimmy Haslam also said on the day they fired Jackson that interim coach Gregg Williams would be a candidate if they conducted a full-scale search.

Jimmy Haslam and John Dorsey address the firing of Hue Jackson and Todd Haley. Haslam cited the internal discord that existed between Jackson and Haley.

While Dorsey has hundreds of his own close contacts in the coaching world, Wolf, Highsmith, Berry and DePodesta have many more of their own to add to the pile.

During his time off last fall after the Chiefs let him go, Dorsey spent much of his time on a 25-page document entitled The 31 Core Competencies Used in Rebuilding and Sustaining Success in the NFL.

You can bet he has a long list of candidates he’s developed over the years, and now he’ll have a chance to hire his own head coach for the first time.


Browns claim two DBs off waivers

BEREA — The Browns' secondary is losing bodies fast, so they made two waiver claims on Wednesday hoping to shore up a thinning group.

Phillip Gaines was claimed from Buffalo and Jermaine Whitehead was claimed from Green Bay. Cornerback Denzel Rice was waived.

The Browns placed E.J. Gaines on injured reserve on Wednesday after he suffered his second concussion in three weeks in the Chiefs game last Sunday. Meanwhile, Terrance Mitchell is still recovering from a broken wrist and is not eligible yet to come off injured reserve. Denzel Ward worked to the side on Wednesday with a hip injury.

Rice played 36 defensive snaps on Sunday.

Whitehead, 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, is in his third season out of Auburn. He originally signed as an undrafted free agent with San Francisco and played 19 games with the Packers. In his last outing with Green Bay, he was ejected against the Patriots Sunday night after he connected on a slap against Patriots offensive lineman David Andrews.

Gaines is in his fifth season out of Rice. He was originally selected by Kansas City and then-GM John Dorsey in the third round of the 2014 draft.

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