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Browns’ Kitchens highlights coaching changes

The Associated Press

Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens stands on the sideline during a Dec. 9 game against the Panthers.

ReutersThe Cleveland Browns are promoting offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens to head coach, according to multiple reports.

An official announcement was expected to come late Wednesday.

Kitchens, 44, becomes the 17th full-time head coach in franchise history. He replaces Hue Jackson, who was fired in October after compiling a 3-36-1 record.

After parting ways with Jackson, the Browns promoted Kitchens from running backs coach to offensive coordinator and named defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as interim head coach. Williams has been relieved of his duties and is no longer with the team.

Williams wrote a message to Browns fans and the people of Cleveland that was posted Wednesday by NFL Network, thanking them for their support.

“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,” Williams said.

“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!”

His departure is one of several from the Browns’ previous coaching staff. Per multiple reports, Cleveland released special-teams coordinator Amos Jones, position coaches Ken Zampese (QBs), Bob Wylie (OL), Blake Williams (LBs) and Greg Seamon (TEs), and several other coaches including special-teams assistant Josh Cribbs, a former Browns Pro Bowler.

The Browns will also have a different organizational structure, according to multiple reports. Kitchens will report to general manager John Dorsey rather than owner Jimmy Haslam, a departure from the structure for previous coaches.

The team’s confidence in Kitchens was boosted by the play of rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield under his watch. In eight games with Kitchens as OC, Mayfield threw for 2,254 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions and was sacked just five times.

A quarterback at Alabama from 1993-97, Kitchens coached in the college ranks from 1999-2005 as an assistant at Glenville State, LSU, North Texas and Mississippi State.

He broke into the NFL as tight ends coach with the Dallas Cowboys in 2006, and held the same role with the Arizona Cardinals from 2007-12.

Fangio finally gets call at 60

In Denver, multiple outlets reported that Broncos president John Elway and Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio agreed to a contract that would see Fangio succeed Vance Joseph as the team’s head coach.

Fangio, 60, met with the team Monday, a day after the Bears lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 16-15 in the wild-card playoffs. He has 32 years of NFL coaching experience, including 18 years as a defensive coordinator, but never has been a head coach.

The Bears had the No. 3 total defense under Fangio this season and allowed 17.7 points per game, the best mark in the league.

Jets get Gase on board

The New York Jets will hire former Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase for its head coaching vacancy, multiple outlets reported.

Gase, 40, was fired Dec. 31 after three seasons in Miami, where he went 23-25 while battling a wealth of injuries, including to quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Before going to the Dolphins, Gase served as offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos (2013-14) and the Chicago Bears (2015).

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