Hue Jackson wants to set the record straight on his time in Cleveland.
During an interview with ESPN 850 on Monday, the former Browns head coach claimed that he was “lied to by ownership and by the executive team.” Jackson, who served as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator before being hired by the Browns in 2016, told the radio station that he was never informed Cleveland would be going into rebuild mode prior to accepting the job. He added that the franchise inaccurately portrayed him as an anti-analytics coach.
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“They were gonna be football plus analytics, but they intentionally made it football versus analytics,” Jackson said. “You gotta understand, it wasn’t gonna be — they weren’t looking for coaches. They were gonna take two years, and they were gonna find a way to use us as an experiment to make sure that they could get the data that they needed for it to be better at the expense of whoever — and that’s not right. I don’t care what nobody says. That’s not the way it should be.
“They also lied to try to paint the picture that I was against analytics. I would have never taken the job if that was the case. They told me that this was gonna be a resource to help me win. I sought out understanding of analytics on my own to make sure I was collaborative, but the one thing that stuck with me, is that all this analytical stuff — and people have to understand this — someone has to determine what is valuable and how valuable that information is.”
Jackson, who is writing a book about his Browns tenure, finished 3-36-1 over two-plus seasons in Cleveland, including an 0-16 mark in his second year. Jackson said he received a contract extension midway through that disappointing season, but the Browns didn’t want to publicly announce the details of the deal.
He was eventually fired in 2018 after starting 2-5-1 and replaced by interim head coach Gregg Williams. Jackson believes that he was used as the “fall guy” for the Browns’ organizational failures.
“People need to go back and look at those drafts and see where those players are today,” Jackson said. “That should tell you all you need to know. They’re not on this team. They haven’t been. Some of them are not even in the league, yet we were expected to win. You can’t win that way, yet I hear other people saying, ‘Well, everybody knew it was a teardown. This is what they’re gonna do.’ I was never told it was a teardown.”
As for his future, Jackson said he’s “not worried” about whether he gets another coaching job. He wants to share his side of the story because it’s simply about “right and wrong.”
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