It's an honour – Freddie Kitchens confirmed as Browns head coach
Freddie Kitchens described himself as honoured after being confirmed as the Cleveland Browns' new head coach on Saturday.
After widespread reports emerged on Wednesday suggesting Kitchens had won the race for the permanent head coaching job, the Browns made it official.
Kitchens, 44, is promoted from the offensive coordinator position he only took on midway through the season. In the eight games after coach Hue Jackson and previous OC Todd Haley were fired, he was responsible for the impressive improvement of number one overall pick and quarterback Baker Mayfield.
It did not take long for Kitchens to address Browns fans directly, telling them on Twitter: "Dawg Pound, I'm your new head coach, Freddie Kitchens. Let's roll."
“I’m your new head coach, Freddie Kitchens. Let’s roll.” pic.twitter.com/ZmZn76KCUZ— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 12, 2019
And he had more words for the Browns' website, saying: "It's an honour to be named the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. As I've said before, I think Cleveland and I get along pretty well. My family and I have really enjoyed our time with this organisation and in this community over the last year.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity and responsibility Dee and Jimmy Haslam have granted me. John Dorsey led a thorough search process and I was excited about having the opportunity to come in and talk about my vision for the future of this football team.
"There are a lot of great people in this front office that I'm excited to continue to work alongside with a singular focus on winning. I've been to one Super Bowl that didn't end the way I wanted it to [while an assistant with the Arizona Cardinals] and that disappointing memory is what really drives me. Our goal is to work extremely hard to earn the right to raise that Lombardi Trophy for our fans and this city."
Under Kitchens, the Browns went 5-3, with Mayfield completing 68.4 per cent of his passes with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
It is a stark difference from Mayfield's games under Haley, in which he was 1-4 as a starter and completed 58.3 percent with eight touchdowns and six interceptions, while being sacked 20 times.
Every Baker needs a Kitchens pic.twitter.com/GMjMviILFs— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 12, 2019
Because of the Browns' improved performance in the second half of the season, they finished 7-8-1, their best record since 2007.
Kitchens was one of several candidates to interview for the job, including the Minnesota Vikings' interim OC Kevin Stefanski, Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell and former Detroit Lions boss Jim Caldwell.
Interim head coach and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was also interviewed, has reportedly been relieved of his duties.
"We had a deliberate and thorough process and one thing became evident - that Freddie is the best person to lead the Cleveland Browns," added general manager John Dorsey.
"We saw first-hand what Freddie is able to do. He showed that he is consistent on a day in and day out basis and that he is a true leader.
"He helped unify our players in a tough time. He raised the bar for our offense last year, and I have no doubt he is going to raise the bar for our entire team."
"Freddie demonstrated all the qualities you want in someone leading your organization." - Dee and Jimmy Haslam pic.twitter.com/3eFfK2wl7M— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 12, 2019