Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Sports

Browns look to dugout for way out

CLEVELAND — The Browns made an out-of-the-batter's box hire on Tuesday.

Owner Jimmy Haslam brought in Paul DePodesta, a baseball executive and analytics expert with 20 years of major-league experience, to be the team's new chief strategy officer.

Haslam, who fired coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer on Sunday night after a 3-13 season, pulled DePodesta away from the New York Mets to help with decision making. DePodesta had been the Mets' vice president of player development and amateur scouting.

"My focus is to bring whatever experience and perspective I can to collaborate with the team, with the intent of helping us make more informed and successful decisions," DePodesta said in a statement. "Admittedly, there will be an awful lot for me to learn, but I want nothing more than to help bring consistent, championship-caliber football back to Cleveland and Browns fans, and I look forward to starting right away."

After graduating from Harvard, DePodesta looked for jobs in football but instead was hired in 1996 by the MLB's Indians.

DePodesta, 43, started with Cleveland as an intern and became an advance scout and special assistant to the GM. He worked in Oakland alongside GM Billy Beane, whose strategies — glamorized in a book and movie called Moneyball — helped the Athletics overcome budget constraints and win. In the film, actor Jonah Hill's character was based on DePodesta.

"We are fortunate to bring in Paul, an extremely talented, highly respected sports executive who will add a critical dimension to our front office," Haslam said. New executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown will report directly to Haslam, as will DePodesta.

Coughlin's goodbye: Tom Coughlin said goodbye as coach for the Giants, where he won two Super Bowls in 12 seasons. "I can tell you right now it has become the source of drive for me, is that when our players, whether they're in their career, after their career, when they come back to me and they say: 'Coach, I love you,' " Coughlin said. "They follow that up by saying they've become better men, better husbands, better fathers, better friends because of their experience having been a New York Giant." He nearly broke into tears thanking his wife, Judy, for being his "quarterback" throughout. The 69-year-old also said his coaching career might not be over and that he still has competitive fire.

Coaching searches: The Giants will interview their defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, for Coughlin's job this week, Fox Sports reported. … The Eagles interviewed Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase for their coaching opening. … The Browns will interview Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott on Thursday, NFL Network reported, and USA Today reported Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will interview next week.

Colts: A day after signing coach Chuck Pagano to a four-year contract extension, the team fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.

49ers: The team will pay out the entire four-year, $14 million contract of Jim Tomsula, who was fired Sunday after one season as coach.

Jaguars: Defensive coordinator Bob Babich was fired after three seasons. … Quarterback Blake Bortles has a broken thumb on his non-throwing hand, an injury that won't affect his offseason. The former UCF standout broke his left thumb in Sunday's season finale at Houston.

Redskins: Cornerback Cary Williams signed in time to play in Sunday's wild-card playoff game against the Packers. Safety Kyshoen Jarrett (right arm) was placed on injured reserve.

Steelers: With running back DeAngelo Williams (right ankle) day to day, coach Mike Tomlin said Fitzgerald Toussaint likely will be the featured back for Saturday's AFC wild-card game against the Bengals.

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Published: 01/15/18