The Cleveland Browns shook up their front office Thursday, first firing executive vice president/general manager Sashi Brown, then hiring John Dorsey as the new GM.
Dorsey becomes the ninth general manager since the club was resurrected in 1999.
The Browns, however, said they would keep Hue Jackson as their coach for the 2018 season.
Winless thus far this season, the Browns owned a 1-27 mark under the watch of Brown, who was hired to run the front office on Jan. 3, 2016.
Dorsey was fired by the Kansas City Chiefs in June after a four-season run as general manager. He previously worked in the front offices of the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. He received a four-year contract from the Browns.The quick move to hire Dorsey raised questions from John Wooten, head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, over whether the Browns violated the "Rooney Rule" that requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head-coaching and GM job. Wooten wrote to USA Today Sports in a text message, "I think John Dorsey is a very top quality GM. I am livid that the Browns would totally ignore the work all of us to make the Rooney Rule meaningful."
However, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Browns were talking to Dorsey for five to six weeks. The club told the Plain Dealer and USA Today that it did comply with the Rooney Rule, though it did not identify a minority candidate who was interviewed.
"We are thrilled to have John Dorsey lead our football operations," Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a press release. "John has been immersed in the NFL for 26 years, won two Super Bowls, built sustainable winning football teams and is highly respected for his football acumen. "We know we have a critical and very positive opportunity ahead of us to profoundly impact the foundation of this football team. Bringing in someone of John Dorsey's caliber, his track record of success and his experience, significantly strengthens our opportunities to build a winning football team and that has been, and continues to be, what we want for our fans."
Earlier, Browns owner Jimmy Haslem said in a statement, "We have great appreciation and gratitude for Sashi's commitment and leadership to our organization but believe transitioning to someone with strong experience and success in drafting and building consistently winning football teams is critical to the future of the Cleveland Browns. ... "The 2018 draft and offseason is pivotal for our franchise, we need to ensure that we maximize our opportunity for success; with our picks, free agency and building our roster.
Brown released a statement hours after he was fired. "I want this to be real and clear, the way I know Cleveland and Browns fans can appreciate: Our win-loss record since I became executive vice president isn't going to cut it," Brown said. "We worked hard. I am so grateful to the people I worked with throughout my four-plus years with the Browns, particularly the people I worked with the past two years. 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."
Brown's regime was marked with strikeouts at the quarterback position, namely trading out of the No. 2 spot in the 2016 NFL draft as Philadelphia moved up to select Carson Wentz. Wentz has an NFL-leading 29 touchdown passes this season. The Browns then moved out of the No. 12 spot in the 2017 draft, allowing the Houston Texans to select Deshaun Watson. Watson excelled during his starting role with the Texans before tearing his ACL.
Cleveland also failed to process the paperwork in time to execute a trade for Cincinnati Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron prior to the NFL's Oct. 31 trade deadline.
The Browns have stockpiled picks for future drafts, with six additional picks in April's draft.
Since returning to Cleveland, the Browns' general managers have been Brown, Ray Farmer, Michael Lombardi, Tom Heckert, George Kokinis, Phil Savage, Butch Davis and Dwight Clark.
While Brown was done in by the team's lack of success, Jackson said that he did not doubt that he would return despite his 1-27 mark.
"I have never felt that that was the case. I have never wavered on that, even talking to you guys (the media). I have always felt like I have had their support," Jackson said. "My job is to coach this football team, try to get this team to where it needs to be and hold this group together and hold our coaching staff accountable to be the best we can be. "It isn't good enough right now -- I'm being very honest with you -- but I think the things we are trying to accomplish, I think some of them we have done better here in the building. At the end as I told you guys, it is about winning and losing so we have to get to that as fast as we can."