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Jimmy Haslam: This is the crucial off-season for the Cleveland Browns

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Banner and Haslam at press conference Banner and Haslam at press conference
Rob Chudzinski Rob Chudzinski
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

The Cleveland Browns brass held a Monday press conference to discuss the decision to fire  first year Head Coach Rob Chudzinski. The decision came after a dismal 4-12 season. 

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner spoke to a packed room before being peppered by questions.

"These type of decisions that we announced last (Sunday) night are always difficult," Haslam said. "In the case of Rob Chudzinski, he's a good person, a good man and somebody we respected and liked a lot. That makes the decision even tougher."

Haslam said he is looking for a coach who is a "winner" and can "win football games." He then stressed who important it was to get it right. There is no timetable, Haslam said, to the search for a new head coach. The search will start immediately.

"We have the best fans in the world. Our fans deserve better," Haslam said. "Nobody cares more about the Browns than the owner."

"In our minds, there should be improvement happening," Banner said. "It was concerning to us that that wasn't happening."

"This is the crucial off-season for the Cleveland Browns," Haslam added.

19 Action News Reporter Dan DeRoos spoke up as the voice of the frustrated and weary fans. Hundreds of fans sounded off on the 19 Action News Facebook page, venting over another losing season, another coaching change. Many vowed they were done with the franchise.  [Join the Facebook conversation - who would you like to see take over in 2014?]

"Jimmy," DeRoos asked. "Can you assure the fans, their words not mine, that you don't have the three stooges running this operation?"

Haslam grimaced, and then responded to the question.

"Listen, I feel really confident we have the right people to take this organization where we need to. And I think what the fans need to understand is, ya'll have heard me say on numerous occasions since we have been here about a year and a half now, we have the best fans in the world. And I've said our fans deserve better. What I want our fans to hear is nobody cares about winning, is going to work any harder to get us there than the people you are looking at right now, particularly the owner. We take this extremely seriously. I purposefully said earlier, it galls me, you have the right to write it, same old Browns, it's our single mission to change that."

Rob Chudzinski issued a statement on Monday afternoon:

"I was shocked and disappointed to hear the news that I was fired. I am a Cleveland Brown to the core, and always will be. It was an honor to lead our players and coaches, and I appreciate their dedication and sacrifice. I was more excited than ever for this team, as I know we were building a great foundation for future success. While clearly I would have liked to see the long-term vision through to the end, I am very grateful to Jimmy Haslam and the Haslam family for letting me live my dream."

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