CLEVELAND — Hue Jackson has experience as a head coach, knows the AFC North and has fixed quarterbacks.
Just what the Browns were looking for.
The Bengals offensive coordinator, who waited four years for his second crack at leading an NFL team, has been hired as Cleveland’s next coach — the struggling franchise’s eighth since 1999 and sixth since 2008.
The 50-year-old Jackson finalized his deal Wednesday, swiftly ending the Browns’ search which began on Jan. 3 when owner Jimmy Haslam fired Mike Pettine after two losing seasons.
Jackson had also interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers and was scheduled to meet later this week with the New York Giants, but Haslam was not going to be outbid for a coach he coveted.
Haslam said Jackson has all the qualities that will provide strong leadership for the team.
“He is highly experienced, deeply passionate about winning, and relentless in trying to find ways to put his players in the best position to succeed,” he said. “He possesses that unique ability to reach the entire locker room in a way that demands accountability while getting the buy-in and team-first mentality that leads to positive results. I think our players will love playing for him.”
The team will introduce Jackson at an evening news conference at their facility in Berea, Ohio.
Ex-RB Phillips found dead
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Lawrence Phillips, a star running back at Nebraska and first-round NFL draft pick whose pro career quickly unraveled amid disciplinary problems, was found dead in his California prison cell early Wednesday, and officials said they suspect suicide.
Guards at Kern Valley State Prison found Phillips, 40, unresponsive in his cell. He was taken to an outside hospital and pronounced dead about 1:30 a.m., the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.
He had been housed alone in a segregation cell since April 2015 after he was suspected of killing his cellmate.
Around the league
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was a full participant in practice Wednesday, but coach Pete Carroll cautioned that was no indication whether he would play in the NFC divisional playoff game at Carolina on Sunday. ... The Bills announced Wednesday night that Ed Reed, a Destrehan graduate, agreed in principle to be an assistant defensive backs coach on Rex Ryan’s staff. Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has an interview scheduled with Tennessee on Friday for the Titans’ head coaching job.