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Chudzinski spent the past two seasons as the coach of the Carolina Panthers. He replaces Pat Shurmur, who went 9-23 in two seasons as the Browns’ coach before being fired Dec. 31 along with general manager Tom Heckert.
Chudzinski, 44, has never been a head coach before at any level. He interviewed with owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner on Wednesday.
As Akron Beacon Journal staff writer Nate Ulrich noted, Chudzinski, a Toledo native who grew up a Browns fan, entered the NFL as a tight ends coach for the Browns in 2004 and was promoted to offensive coordinator for the final five games that season after coach Butch Davis resigned. Chudzinski joined the San Diego Chargers in 2005 as a tight ends coach before returning to the Browns in 2007 as a full-time offensive coordinator, a job he held for two seasons.
In 2007, the Browns went 10-6, ranked eighth in offense (351.3 yards per game) and had six players, including left tackle Joe Thomas, quarterback Derek Anderson, wide receiver Braylon Edwards and tight end Kellen Winslow make the Pro Bowl. In 2008, the Browns went 4-12, ranked 31st on offense (249.1 yards per game) and coach Romeo Crennel was fired at the end of the season.
Chudzinski then returned to the Chargers and served as their assistant head coach/tight ends coach for two seasons.
In 2011, he became the Panthers’ offensive coordinator, and the team ranked seventh in offense (389.8 yards per game) and tied for fifth in scoring (25.4 points per game). In 2012, the Panthers ranked 12th in offense (360.7 yards per game) and tied for 18th in scoring (22.3 points per game).
Last year, Chudzinski interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to the Charlotte Observer. Still, he has yet to become a head coach.
According to ESPN's Ed Werder, Chudzinski will target former San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner as his offensive coordinator. Turner's son, Scott Turner, worked for Chudzinski in Carolina.
According to Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Mary Kay Cabot, the Browns are also likely to switch to a 3-4 defense, a source said, which means defensive coordinator Dick Jauron is probably gone.
Meanwhile, as Profootballtalk.com's Mike Florio suggests, Chudzinski's arrival is the first in a coming series of moves that will eventually lead to a fresh vision for offense and defense and personnel management, especially since the Browns seem to have opted to focus on hiring a coach before bringing in a general manager.
Which, as Florio added, "means that Chudzinski probably have some authority over the selection of the groceries."
It's not yet known how Chudzinski feels about the Browns' quarterbacks -- Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy and Thad Lewis. But one thing Chudzinski definitely understands is the passion of Browns fans and their urgency to get to the Super Bowl. He lived through "The Drive" and "The Fumble," "Red Right 88" and cherished the Kardiac Kids.
"The fans here are special people," Chudzinski said in 2004. "I know because I was one of them and still am.'
In the end, while it's not the home-run that Haslam and Banner might have envisioned when interviewing Oregon's Chip Kelly, the fact he's one of them might go over well with fans.