BEREA, Ohio -- When Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam sought to rebuild his organization for the third time since 2012 following a 3-13 showing during the 2015 season, he wanted a head coach that was well-respected in the National Football League.
That is exactly what Haslam got with the hiring of former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator and Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson. And despite the Browns going 1-15 in 2016 and having to wait until the second-to-last week of the season for their only win, Haslam is confident in Jackson.
“I just think we're fortunate to have Hue as a coach,” Haslam said prior to Saturday’s training-camp practice. “I think he's established a great rapport here with the community, with the team, with us, and I hope he'll be our head coach for a long time.”
Nineteen months after bringing Jackson on as the head coach, Haslam is as impressed with his on-field leader as he was when making the hire in January of 2016.
“Being a head NFL coach is a really difficult job and Hue does a lot of things really well, but leading men, I think he’s exceptional at,” Haslam said.
“There’s not a lot positive to say about a 1-15 season, but I don’t think you’d say that our guys weren’t motivated and didn’t play hard all the way up to the end and you all are around here every day. That’s exceptionally hard to do, and I just think he’s really good at relating to and leading men.”
And Jackson has not limited himself to a leader on and around the football field.
Before the start of training camp, the Hue Jackson Foundation announced its first initiative was to help the Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland find housing for adult female victims of human trafficking.
“I think it’s outstanding,” Haslam said. “Hue Jackson’s a quality person, and I was thinking back the other day, I forget how it came up but some of you will remember this. The day the NFL voted on what team or teams were going to go to LA, I think it was a Tuesday, and we were right in the midst of making our final decision of who to hire as our head coach.
“We’ve done a lot of things wrong, but I think one thing we did well is, I said ‘Dee, you go to Houston and you represent us and vote on LA. I’m going to go to Cincinnati and make sure we hire Hue Jackson as our next coach’ because I knew the next day, there were going to be other teams interested in hiring him and I’m glad we did that and Hue’s fully committed, totally bought in, and I think his and Michelle’s commitment to the foundation is the kind of guy he is. Hue’s all in on everything he does.”