CLEVELAND — Well, that did not take long.
One day after being relieved of his coaching duties with the Cleveland Browns, well-travelled defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is reportedly “under consideration” to take over the defensive play-calling responsibilities for the New York Jets.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the news Thursday.
Williams was the first candidate interviewed for the Browns’ opening, but after a nine-day search, the coaching committee went in a different direction by reportedly hiring interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens.
Shortly after Kitchens’ impending hiring was reported, ESPN’s Pat McManamon said that despite leading the franchise to a 5-3 record over the second half of the season, Williams “is no longer with the Browns and will not return.”
Fellow ESPN reporter Dan Graziano said it was the Browns’ decision to part ways with Williams.
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 staff upheaval following the dismissals of Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley with eight games left to play, the 2018 Browns looked to be anything but a team capable of the greatest year-to-year turnaround in franchise history.
But 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 team 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.
The Browns will face the Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey during the 2019 regular season.
Following his departure from the Browns, Williams released a statement thanking fans for their support during his tenure in Cleveland.
“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!”