Browns fire top executive, but keep coach Hue Jackson for 2018


Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown (left) was fired by team owner Jimmy Haslam on Thursday.

Associated Press 

Sashi Brown brought analytics, a bevy of draft picks, and some stability to the Cleveland Browns.

In the end, losing mattered most.


With the Browns not winning and still the NFL’s saddest franchise, owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam decided it was time to make yet another change at the top before things got any worse.

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Unable to produce more than one win over two seasons, Brown, a Framingham native who attended Harvard Law School, was fired on Thursday by the Haslams, who jettisoned their lead football executive but chose to keep coach Hue Jackson around for another season despite a 1-27 record.

In announcing Brown’s firing, which was expected given the team’s sorry state, Jimmy Haslam also said Jackson will return in 2018.

‘‘I appreciate Jimmy saying that,’’ Jackson said following practice as the Browns (0-12) prepared to host the Packers on Sunday. ‘‘My focus of coming here to the Cleveland Browns is to coach the football team and help get this organization turned around. I haven’t been able to do that yet. That is something that I think we all want to do — Jimmy and Dee, obviously.

‘‘Hopefully, I am still a part of that, which I am, and hopefully, our players that are here, a year from now, hopefully, we can get this thing to where it needs to be.’’


The Browns moved quickly Thursday night, hiring former Chiefs general manager John Dorsey as their new GM. With Dorsey as their GM from 2013-16, the Chiefs went 43-21 and advanced to the postseason three times. A former NFL linebacker, Dorsey also worked in Green Bay’s front office.

Brown positioned the Browns to be better in the future by acquiring more draft picks, but passing on quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson the past two years and other questionable decisions with the roster sealed his fate.

“Our win-loss record since I became executive vice president isn’t going to cut it,’’ Brown said in a statement released by the team. ‘‘We embarked on a mission to rebuild the Browns for long-term, sustainable success. We were committed and aggressive in our approach, even if unorthodox at times. We made dramatic changes and put in place a foundation on which championships can be built.

‘‘Obviously, the Browns have not yet achieved the turnaround we wanted for a franchise and the best fans in the NFL, who deserve it more than any other in sports. I know that turnaround is coming.’’

Jackson’s survival would indicate he won a power struggle over Brown, the team’s former legal counsel who had no previous experience running a team.

The football and personnel departments have clashed over roster decisions and the growing tensions — along with the abysmal record — gave Haslam the impetus to make more changes despite promising continuity when the season began.


Jackson didn’t gloat about keeping his job, and he knows he isn’t absolved blame for the Browns’ troubles.

‘‘Sashi is a good person,’’ Jackson said. ‘‘I have enjoyed my time working with him. I’m not naïve enough to understand that could not have been me, just as well. This is a performance-based business, and I get it. This is all I've known for the last 17-18 years of my life. I do understand that that arrow is pointing directly at myself. My goal is to move in the direction that helps this organization be the best it can be as we move forward.’’

Haslam said he informed Brown ‘‘that we were going in a new direction’’ and pointed to the 2018 draft, when the Browns will have two first-round picks, as ‘‘pivotal for our franchise.’’

Shazier has surgery

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent surgery on Wednesday night to stabilize his spine.

The team announced Thursday that Drs. David Okonkwo and Joseph Maroon performed the surgery after Shazier was transferred from a hospital in Cincinnati to one in Pittsburgh.

The 25-year-old Shazier suffered the injury while hitting Cincinnati’s Josh Malone in the first quarter of Pittsburgh’s 23-20 victory over the Bengals on Monday night. Shazier motioned to his lower back immediately following the hit and was taken off the field on a stretcher.

The team offered no additional update on Shazier.

Bills’ Taylor limited

Bills coach Sean McDermott isn’t ready to name his starting quarterback against the Colts on Sunday after Tyrod Taylor had limited mobility in his bruised left knee upon returning to practice. Taylor took part in individual drills in his first practice since being hurt in a loss to the Patriots last Sunday. Wearing a black sleeve on his leg, Taylor had difficulty moving his knee backward and sideways during a stretching drill. At one point, he was unable to lift his leg high enough to slip back on his left cleat . . . Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon has been accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed in California by a woman who worked as his assistant at his sports marketing firm. In the lawsuit filed this week in Orange County Superior Court, Wendy Haskell alleges that Moon made ‘‘unwanted and unsolicited’’ sexual advances while she worked for Sports 1 Marketing.

Moon, who played parts of 17 seasons in the NFL with Houston, Minnesota, Seattle, and Kansas City, is the co-founder and president of the company. Moon’s attorney, Daniel F. Fears, issued a statement Thursday saying Moon has yet to be served with the lawsuit but is aware of the claims and denies them.