Former Cleveland Browns interim coach/defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was relieved of his coaching duties shortly after the search committee chose to hire Freddie Kitchens as the 17th full-time head coach in franchise history Wednesday.
Following his dismissal, Williams released a statement through Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network thanking the fans for their support.
“I want to personally reach out to all the Cleveland Browns fans and the people of Cleveland to say thank you for your support,” Williams said. “It has been an honor to coach this team and we loved living in this community with the finest, most passionate fans in the world.
“I am proud that we were able to help get the Browns back to the winning tradition the fans deserve. I am humbled to have worked for such a storied franchise and will always love the city of Cleveland. This city deserves a winner!”
And just as he did with every play in training camp, Williams ended the statement with his favorite phrase.
“Please continue to support this team and the incredible group of men. I wish you all the very best, and always remember #ComeGetSome!”
At 2-5-1 following a 33-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 28 and in the middle of an unprecedented midseason coaching upheaval with eight games remaining on the schedule, the 2018 Browns looked to be anything but a team capable of the greatest year-to-year turnaround in franchise history.
However, Williams led the team to a 5-3 record over the second half of the season and a three-game winning streak in December secured the Browns’ greatest turnaround in franchise history, as they finished plus-7.5 in wins over last year’s winless campaign.
With a 26-18 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 23, the Browns finished off their first regular-season sweep of an AFC North Division opponent since 2002.
In addition to breaking a 16-year drought of two wins in the same season against the Bengals, the Browns finished the home portion of the schedule without a loss against an AFC North Division opponent for the first time ever.