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[Courtesy of Cleveland.com]

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — The brief Pat Shurmur tenure is officially over. The Browns this morning announced that Shurmur has been fired after two years as head coach and also that General Manager Tom Heckert is out after three years.

Shurmur, hired by Heckert and former team president Mike Holmgren, leaves with a 9-23 record as an NFL coach.

“We felt that these moves were in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns and our future,” Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam said in a team release.  “I enjoyed getting to know Tom and Pat over the past several months, and want to thank them, not just for their contributions to the Browns, but also the insight they were able to provide.  They are both fine men and hope they have the best of success as they move forward with their careers.”

“This decision was not an easy one because of my relationship with Tom and Pat and the fact that they are both quality people,” said Browns CEO Joe Banner.  “Ultimately our objective is to put together an organization that will be the best at everything we do.  On the field, our only goal is trying to win championships.   I have a great deal of respect for Tom and Pat, and I want to wish them and their families nothing but the best.”

Both Shurmur and Heckert are expected to have other opportunities before too long. Shurmur might be a candidate for the Vikings’ offensive coordinator job, according to CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora. Heckert is expected to draw interest from several teams with general manager vacancies.

One or both might also have a chance to be reunited with Andy Reid, who’s expected to be fired by the Eagles. Reid reportedly has already been calling around to assemble his staff and has his sights set on the San Diego job, according to profootballtalk.com.

“I am extremely proud of the players on this team, who I felt made tremendous strides and helped to make the Cleveland Browns relevant again,” Shurmur said in the release.  “I want to thank them, as well as my entire coaching staff for making the past two years enjoyable. My coaches are outstanding teachers and even better men. They helped me lead these players through a unique time of transition. This group of players will achieve success soon, and there will be a part of me that will feel very good when that happens.

“I want to thank Randy Lerner, Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert for bringing me in and having the faith in me to lead this football team.  I am disappointed that we did not win more games, but I do know the Browns are on their way to becoming a consistent winner. I appreciated the time spent with Jimmy (Haslam) and Joe (Banner), and wish them all the best as they provide a new vision for the Cleveland Browns.”

Both Shurmur and Heckert had known for a while that the ax was likely to fall right after the season.

“Listen, I get this,” Shurmur said on Thursday. “We have not won enough football games and I know that’s the way this things works, but in our situation I see improvement and I’ll leave it at that.”

Shurmur stressed that he and his staff had to play with a young roster — 26 players with less than two years’ experience — and that the team was built for the long haul, not necessarily to contend this year.

“We came into a less-than-ideal situation when we got here,” said Shurmur. “I’m proud of the work that the guys that I hired did in terms of inspiring the players to improve. It’s a little different thought process when you’re working with so many young ones. There are certain things you’ve got to keep hammering home that when you’ve got a veteran crew, you know you talk about other things.”

Heckert said the hardest part for him is all the guys he brought here for what was supposed to be the long-term.

[Continue reading HERE.]

What’s next for the Browns?

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