Cleveland Browns owner, CEO explain firings of GM Tom Heckert, head coach Pat Shurmur

Team mum on replacements, focus is finding coach

BEREA, Ohio - The owner and CEO of the Cleveland Browns said the firings of head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert were "difficult" but necessary for a "fresh start" to craft a winning team.

In the 40 minute news conference, owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner called Shurmur and Heckert "good people" who worked hard. "It was a tough and emotional decision," Banner said.

The dismissals come one day after the Browns completed a 5-11 season. Shurmur went 9-23 in two seasons in Cleveland.

"I don't think it does any good to the Browns or those people to comment on any names so we aren't going to," Haslam said about candidates for the openings. He didn't rule out college coaches and coordinators.

Banner and Haslam decided first to look for a head coach, then a new GM. Speculation on who those candidates may be were not revealed.

The two didn't set a time frame, noting they want the "right person" who has strong leadership and can "overcome obstacles."

Banner even said he thinks the Browns have a shot at going to the playoffs next season. Haslam went on to say that their goal is to build a consistent championship team.

"We're going after the top coaches available," said Banner. "We think we can make a very good case for why this is the best opportunity."

Both called the job openings "very attractive" and are looking to begin interviews this weekend.

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