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BREAKING: Browns hire Panthers' Chudzinski

January 10, 2013

(Photo courtesy of Panthers.com)

Rob Chudzinski is returning home to his NFL roots.

The Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator has accepted the Cleveland Brown's head coaching position.

Chudzinski, who got his start in the NFL as a tight ends coach with the Browns in 2004 and the team's offensive coordinator from 2007-08, replaces Pat Shurmur as Cleveland head coach.

“I’m excited about this opportunity,” Chudzinski said at a press conference on Friday. “I’m excited about the chance to bring back what I grew up in, and the feeling that this city, this region, this area had in the Cleveland Browns. I was the kid in the backyard pretending I was Ozzie Newsome or Brian Sipe or the greats that played for Cleveland. The tradition of this franchise is such that the people here want a winner and I would not miss this for the world, the opportunity to come back and bring a winner back to Cleveland."

An Ohio native, Chudzinski becomes the sixth head coach for the Browns in the past 15 seasons and the 17th in franchise history.

He spent the past two seasons as offensive coordinator for the Panthers, coming to Carolina after spending the 2009 and 2010 seasons as an assistant head and tight ends coach in San Diego.

The Panthers ranked 12th in total offense this past season under Chudzinski at 360.7 yards per game. That was down five spots from Carolina's seventh-place finish in offense in 2011 at 389.8 points per game.

Also on Chudzinski's coaching résumé are stints in college with the University of Miami as a graduate assistant from 1994-95, a tight ends coach from 1996-2000 and the Hurricane's offensive coordinator from 2001-03.

This is the second-straight offseason that Chudzinski's name had been linked to an NFL head coaching job. After last season, he interviewed with Tennessee, St. Louis and Jacksonville for respective head coaching jobs.

The search for a new offensive coordinator will start under Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman, who was hired by the team on Wednesday.

Several rumored names for the coordinator job include Former San Diego head coach Norv Turner and current Panthers quarterbacks coach Mike Shula.

Chudzinski is the fourth member of Carolina's coaching staff to leave this offseason. The team let go of assistant coaches Warren Belin, John Settle and Fred Graves on Tuesday.

The Panthers also decided on Saturday to bring back head coach Ron Rivera for a third season.

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