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Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert are expected to either be fired or resign from their positions after Sunday’s game, according to The Plain Dealer.
The Browns (5-10) take on the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) on Sunday. The axe is expected to fall immediately after the game or no later than Monday regardless of the outcome.
“Listen, I get this, and my concerns are for my team and making sure that we do all the right things during the game to give our guys the best chance to win,” said Shurmur. “That’s where I’m at. 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 heads into Sunday’s game with a 9-22 record. He’s expected to follow in the footsteps of former Browns coach Eric Mangini who lost his job after losing to the Steelers, 41-9, in 2010. Former Browns coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Phil Savage lost their jobs in 2008 following a 31-0 loss to Pittsburgh.
Shurmur said his staff did a great job developing the young players on the team. In fact, 26 of them had fewer than two years’ experience.
“We came into a less than ideal situation when we got here,” Shurmur said. “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.”
Shurmur’s expected demise was only a matter of time considering his record and circumstances. Jimmy Haslam agreed to buy the Browns in August and CEO Joe Banner took over in October. They want to take the team to a championship level and plan to make the staffing changes to achieve that.
The players are bracing themselves for changes ahead.
“Once you change the owner, he’s been successful at what he’s done in his career and he has a way of doing business and he’s going to bring that mold here,” said Browns’ linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. “And whatever it is, whether it’s change, whether it’s keeping the guys in the building, I’m on board for it.”
“My job is to lead the guys in the locker room and do the best of my ability with that. If change happens and he feels like it needs to happen, you have to be on board with it,” Jackson added.