Reports: Browns hiring Freddie Kitchens as new head coach

The Cleveland Browns believe they finally have a franchise quarterback.

And now they’re hiring the man who seemed to get the best out of that quarterback as their head coach.

Reports: Browns to announce Freddie Kitchens as head coach

Via multiple reports, the Browns have decided to promote from within and hire Freddie Kitchens as head coach. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen had the news first.

The 44-year old Kitchens has seen his star rise incredibly quickly: just a couple of months ago, he had never been a coordinator at any level. But when the Browns fired Hue Jackson and Todd Haley in November, Kitchens was promoted to offensive coordinator.

An Alabama native who played quarterback at the University of Alabama, he coached at four colleges before entering the NFL coaching ranks in 2006 with the Dallas Cowboys as tight ends coach. He held the same role with the Arizona Cardinals from 2007-2012.

Kitchens remained with the Cardinals until 2017; he coached the quarterbacks from 2013-16, and the running backs in his final season. He joined the Browns in 2018.

Rookie Baker Mayfield and the offense seemed to respond to Kitchens: in the first eight games of the season, Cleveland averaged 20.6 points per game; over the final eight, with Kitchens in charge, that number was 23.7.

16 PHOTOS
Baker Mayfield with the Cleveland Browns
See Gallery
Baker Mayfield with the Cleveland Browns
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 30: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) walks off of the field at the conclusion of the game during preseason game action between the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on August 30, 2018 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 30: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) calls out signals during preseason game action between the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on August 30, 2018 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 30: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) looks for a receiver during preseason game action between the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on August 30, 2018 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 09: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns follows the action against the New York Giants during their preseason game on August 9,2018 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 09: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns in action against the New York Giants during their preseason game on August 9,2018 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 09: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns in action against the New York Giants during their preseason game on August 9,2018 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 09: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns in action against the New York Giants during their preseason game on August 9,2018 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
BEREA, OH - AUGUST 12: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) participates in drills during during the Cleveland Browns Training Camp on August 12, 2018, at the at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BEREA, OH - JUNE 13: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) participates in drills during the Cleveland Browns Minicamp on June 13, 2018, at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BEREA, OH - JUNE 13: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) participates in drills during the Cleveland Browns Minicamp on June 13, 2018, at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BEREA, OH - JUNE 13, 2018: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns throws a pass during a mandatory mini camp on June 13, 2018 at the Cleveland Browns training facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by: 2018 Diamond Images/Getty Images)
BEREA, OH - JUNE 13: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) participates in drills during the Cleveland Browns Minicamp on June 13, 2018, at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BEREA, OH - JUNE 13: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) participates in drills during the Cleveland Browns Minicamp on June 13, 2018, at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BEREA, OH - MAY 30, 2018: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns throws a pass during an OTA practice on May 30, 2018 at the Cleveland Browns training facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by: 2018 Diamond Images/Getty Images)
BEREA, OH - MAY 23, 2018: Quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese of the Cleveland Browns watches quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 take part in a drill during an OTA practice at the Cleveland Browns training facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by: 2018 Diamond Images/Getty Images)
BEREA, OH - MAY 23: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) participates in drills during the Cleveland Browns OTA at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

During that time, Mayfield threw 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions, with a second-half passer rating of 106.2. In the first half of the season, with Haley calling plays, he had a 78.9 rating with eight touchdowns and six interceptions.

Kitchens beat out Kevin Stefanski

Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reported that the other finalist for the job was Kevin Stefanski, who finished the season as the Minnesota Vikings’ interim offensive coordinator.

Stefanski was in Cleveland on Tuesday for a second interview.

But the 36-year-old Stefanski will reportedly return to the Vikings as coordinator.

Gregg Williams relieved of duties

Not surprisingly, with Kitchens being hired as head coach, Gregg Williams has been relieved of his duties.

Williams was hired by the Browns in 2017 as defensive coordinator and served as interim head coach for the final eight games of the season.

More from Yahoo Sports:
Cowboys owner spends more for yacht than he did for team
Florida man arrested after late superfan’s family threatened
Driver in hockey tragedy pleads guilty
Cardinals’ hiring move: ‘What is pro football coming to?’

Subscribe to The Yahoo Sports NFL Podcast

Apple PodcastsStitcherGoogle Podcasts

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.