Owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam put their faith in general manager John Dorsey in December when he was hired to reconstruct a roster in need of serious repair after two years of fired head of football operations Sashi Brown picking the players.
Dorsey’s stature in the organization grew this week with the firing of coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. He was a large part of the decisions, will play a key role in the search for the next coach and is a major reason for hope the Browns can finally get a rebuild right.
“In Dorsey we trust,” defensive back Damarious Randall said Friday of the moves Monday. “They came up with a decision and we’re going to follow behind it.”
Dorsey was supposed to be a storyline of the week for a different reason. His old team, the Chiefs, will visit FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday.
Dorsey was hired as GM in Kansas City in 2013 and teamed with coach Andy Reid to lead an instant and impressive turnaround. They inherited a 2-14 team and went 43-21 in Dorsey’s four regular seasons, reaching the playoffs three times.
The Chiefs are atop the AFC at 7-1 this year with Dorsey’s players leading the way. His key acquisitions included tight end Travis Kelce, receiver Tyreek Hill and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, whom he signed away from the Browns in 2016.
But Dorsey was fired in June 2017, less than two months after trading up to No. 10 to draft quarterback Patrick Mahomes and taking running back Kareem Hunt in the third round. Mahomes leads the NFL with 26 touchdown passes, and Hunt is fourth with 592 rushing yards.
Dorsey’s departure was never fully explained and he hasn’t provided details, but communication and management style were issues, according to the Kansas City Star. Brett Veach, who followed Reid from Philadelphia, replaced Dorsey but Reid still gives much of the credit for the Chiefs’ success to Dorsey.
“John picked (the players). He picked them. That is why he is picking them now,” Reid said on a conference call. “That is what I am telling you, you guys are in good hands.”
Reid wouldn’t discuss the breakup but said Dorsey’s the right man for the Browns.
“John is going to do a phenomenal job for you guys,” he said. “He has already done it. You have seen what he has done.
“I am friends with John. I have been friends with John. I will leave it at that. Things happen, and it happened. I have the utmost respect for him. You just watch how he gets that thing turned around right there.”
Dorsey didn’t want to talk about facing his old team, so others were left to talk about him.
“Dorse is an awesome guy. He is the guy who sent the pick in and got me,” Mahomes said. “I got to meet him through that draft process. He is an awesome talent evaluator, as well as a guy.”
Gregg Williams, who was named interim coach Monday, said his relationship with Dorsey goes back to Dorsey’s playing days with the Packers as a linebacker and special teamer. Williams was asked for an evaluation when the Haslams were considering hiring Dorsey.
“I’ve known him since forever, had tremendous respect for him as a player. Then also had respect for him once he decided foolishly to go into this business, too,” Williams said. “Friends in this league only come from a respect that you can do your job. I tease everybody all the time now, ‘I’m not looking for a whole lot of friends in life any more. If I want a new friend I’ll buy a Labrador.’
“I spoke highly of him at that time. I didn’t hire him, but they asked my opinion.”