|This will be Rob Chudzinski's third stint in Cleveland. (Getty Images)|
The Browns have hired Rob Chudzinski as their coach, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman has confirmed. Cleveland made the move official Thursday night and will introduce Chudzinski on Friday morning.
ESPN first reported the news.
Chudzinski returns to Cleveland, where he was the offensive coordinator from 2007-2008 under Romeo Crennel. He spent the past two seasons in that role with the Panthers, where he was credited with quarterback Cam Newton's early success.
Chudzinski, who began his NFL coaching career in 2004 as the Browns' tight ends coach, interviewed Wednesday for the head coaching job. He was a latecomer to the proceedings but clearly impressed the new owner and front office. He'll now be tasked with taking over an organization that hasn't won more than five games since 2007 and hasn't made the playoffs since 2002.
On Wednesday, Eye on Football's Josh Katzowitz highlighted the top candidates to replace Pat Shurmur, and here's what he wrote about Chudzinski:
"His stock isn't as high as it was last season, when he worked wonders with quarterback Cam Newton, who [at that time] had the best rookie season of any quarterback in history. This season, the team seemed to backslide, and Newton didn't play well for much of it. But the team got hot late in the season, winning its last four, and Newton played better toward the end of the year. Of course, it doesn't look great when the team for which you're coaching fires its general manager and needs a special reprieve to save the head coach. But Chudzinski got multiple interviews last year, and that has carried over to this offseason."
A quick look around Twitter shows a generally positive reaction to the hire:
Browns fans thrilled, I am sure. RT @mortreport: Rob Chudzinksi is a done deal. He is the Browns new head coach. Confirmed.— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) January 11, 2013
Ohio native going home. Nice. RT @mortreport Rob Chudzinski is a done deal. He is the Browns new head coach. Confirmed.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) January 11, 2013
And if Chudzinski can do what many of his predecessors couldn't -- win -- fans will be glad Chip Kelly stayed at Oregon. One of Chudzinski's first jobs this offseason: determining if quarterback Brandon Weeden, the Browns' 2012 first-round pick, is in the team's long-term plans.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the Pick-6 Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.