CLEVELAND – Rob Chudzinski’s roots run 44 years deep with the Browns.
As a kid, he buckled on his orange helmet and ran around his backyard in Toledo, pretending he was Ozzie Newsome. He sat outside in the snow and watched Cleveland games on TV through the window to make it feel like he was in the Dawg Pound.
On Friday, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came true for Chudzinski, who was introduced as the Browns’ sixth full-time coach since 1999.
It’s a dream come true, almost unbelievable in a lot of ways, Chudzinski said.
After interviewing several high-profile candidates, including Oregon coach Chip Kelly, former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt and other top coordinators, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner picked Chudzinski, who spent the past two years as Carolina’s offensive coordinator.
Haslam said he spoke with nine or 10 of the best coaches in the country and insisted Chudzinski was on the team’s list of candidates from the outset.
This is Chudzinski’s third stint with the Browns. He coached Cleveland’s tight ends in 2004 and was the team’s offensive coordinator in 2007-08. In his first season calling plays, the Browns went 10-6.
Chudzinski’s first task is to assemble his staff. He would not comment on any specific candidates. There are reports he’ll hire former San Diego coach Norv Turner as his offensive coordinator.
CFL coach denies Bears rumor
Longtime NFL assistant and current CFL coach Marc Trestman denied a rumor that Chicago is set to hire him.
In an email to the Montreal Gazette, Trestman said he had not heard from the Bears, who fired coach Lovie Smith after the season. Trestman, who coaches the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes, interviewed with the Bears this week.
Cowboys bring in Monte Kiffin
Dallas hired former Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin as the replacement for Rob Ryan, the team announced on its website.
Kiffin, 73, spent the past few years coaching in college with his son, Lane Kiffin, at Tennessee and USC.
Around the league
Philadelphia will interview Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on Monday. The Eagles, who already had one interview with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, are expected to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. People familiar with the decision said Tennessee coach Mike Munchak is parting ways with special teams coach Alan Lowry.
New Jacksonville general manager David Caldwell said he can’t imagine a scenario in which Tim Tebow would play for the Jaguars.