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Owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam turn to GM John Dorsey to lead search for next coach

BEREA — First, owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam entrusted the roster to general manager John Dorsey.

Now, it’s the search for a head coach.

Browns senior vice president of communications Peter John-Baptiste confirmed Wednesday to The Chronicle-Telegram that Dorsey will conduct the search for coach Hue Jackson’s replacement. Cleveland.com was first to report the news.

Dorsey will collaborate with the Haslams on the hire.

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Jackson was fired Oct. 29 after going 3-36-1 in 2½ seasons. Jimmy Haslam and Dorsey didn’t want to discuss the ensuing search in the hours after the firing — defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was named interim coach — but the process is underway.

Dorsey, who was hired in December to replace fired head of football operations Sashi Brown, has never hired a coach or led a search. When he was hired as GM of the Chiefs in 2013, coach Andy Reid was already in place.

But the decision to hand control to Dorsey makes sense given his nearly 30 years in front offices across the league and the Haslams’ track record hiring coaches. 

Commentary: Haslams should get out of the way and let Dorsey pick next coach.

They inherited Pat Shurmur in 2012 and fired him following the season. They hired Rob Chudzinski and he lasted a season. Mike Pettine was next and lasted two years.

After settling for two coaches who weren’t their first choice, the Haslams considered Jackson the prize of the candidate pool in 2016 and were ecstatic to land him. He went 1-15 and 0-16 in his two full seasons in Cleveland.

Former CEO Joe Banner led the searches that found Chudzinski and Pettine. The Haslams relied on a search firm before hiring Jackson, with Brown and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta involved in the process.

Dorsey won’t be alone in this search but he’ll be the point man.

He has spent the last 28 years in player personnel departments with the Packers, Seahawks and Chiefs and has extensive knowledge of potential candidates to be the ninth coach since the Browns returned in 1999. He’s familiar with college and pro coaches and will be able to cast a large net if he chooses.

Possibilities in the NFL include Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Chiefs assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Dave Toub, Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell.

Intriguing names from the college ranks include Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, Iowa State’s Matt Campbell and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy or Ravens coach John Harbaugh could move to the top of the list if they’re fired.

The hire isn’t expected to be made until after the season, as most of the viable candidates are under contract and in-season.

Former Cardinals coach and Browns offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, 66, sort of tossed his Kangol hat into the ring Sunday while in town to broadcast the 37-21 loss to the Chiefs. He told the Canton Repository “Cleveland is the only job I would consider,” while also promoting former Colts coach and Browns assistant Chuck Pagano for the job.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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