BEREA—On the last day of 2012, it is only fitting that the former regime is gone.
Coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert were officially fired Monday morning after meetings with owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner. With the most recent firings, the leadership team of former owner Randy Lerner of Mike Holmgren, Heckert and Shurmur is now finished.
The Orange & Brown Report said Shurmur was informed of the decision Sunday night.
“We felt that these moves were in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns and our future,” Haslam said in a statement. “I enjoyed getting to know Tom and Pat over the past several months, and want to thank them, not just for their contributions to the Browns, but also the insight they were able to provide. They are both fine men and hope they have the best of success as they move forward with their careers.”
Banner worked with Shurmur and Heckert in Philadelphia with the Eagles.
“This decision was not an easy one because of my relationship with Tom and Pat and the fact they are both quality people,” Banner said. “Ultimately our objective is to put together an organization that will be the best at everything we do. On the field, our only goal is trying to win championships. I have a great deal of respect for Tom and Pat, and I want to wish them and their families nothing but the best.”
Shurmur was the head coach for the past two seasons and compiled a 9-23 record in his two seasons, including 5-11 in 2012.
“I want to thank Randy Lerner, Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert for bringing me in and having the faith in me to lead the football team,” Shurmur said. “I am disappointed that we did not win more games, but I do know the Browns are on their way to becoming a consistent winner. I appreciated the time spent with Jimmy and Joe, and wish them all the best as they provide a new vision for the Cleveland Browns.”
Shurmur’s demeanor and interaction with the players in the locker room after the Steelers’ season finale indicated he knew what was coming.
“I have not spoken to Joe Banner or Jimmy Haslam in quite some time,” Shurmur said after the game. “I saw them before the game, but not close enough to speak.”
Heckert was with the Browns for three seasons after Mike Holmgren was brought in as the team president and he oversaw three drafts. He drafted Joe Haden and T.J. Ward in the first two rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft and made the trade that brought Phil Taylor to the Browns in the first-round of the 2011 draft. He also selected Jabaal Sheard and Greg Little in that draft. This past year, Heckert selected Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, Mitchell Schwartz with the Browns top three picks. He also used a second-round choice in the 2013 draft to select Josh Gordon in the NFL supplemental draft.
“I leave the Browns feeling very good about many of the things we accomplished here and the direction in which I believe this team is headed,” Heckert said. “Having been around this franchise growing up, I was really excited for the opportunity to come here three years ago, and I want to thank Randy Lerner and Mike Holmgren for making that possible.
“I also want to acknowledge many of the hard-working people in the Browns organization, especially our player personnel staff, who are outstanding at what they do and supported me immensely in my role. I wish the team nothing but the best as they move forward.”