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Published: Sunday, 1/21/2007

Browns give job to Toledo native

Chudzinski Chudzinski

BEREA, Ohio Toledoan Rob Chudzinski was hired yesterday as the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator, returning to the team to take over a unit that ranked near the bottom in the NFL in nearly every category the last two seasons.

Chudzinski was Cleveland s tight ends coach in 2004 under Butch Davis. He coached San Diego s tight ends the last two seasons.

The team was impressed with Chudzinski s well thought-out plan on how to address the Browns scoring woes, coach Romeo Crennel said.

It covered many facets of the offensive structure, Crennel said. We talked about coaches, schedules, and discipline. ... He knew how he would handle some things here and we were impressed with that.

Before coming to the pros, the 38-year-old Toledo native was the Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator for three seasons. The former tight end and St. John s Jesuit graduate was credited with developing Green Bay s Bubba Franks, the New York Giants Jeremy Shockey, and current Browns tight end Kellen Winslow into All-Americans. He started the 2004 season as the Browns tight ends coach and was elevated to offensive coordinator after Terry Robiskie was named interim coach. Robiskie that year replaced Butch Davis five weeks into the seaon.

The Browns went through two offensive coordinators this season. With players and fans grumbling about his play calling, Maurice Carthon resigned after six games and was replaced by line/assistant head coach Jeff Davidson.

But the Browns didn t improve much and finished 30th in scoring and 31st in total yards and rushing. They lost six of their last seven and finished 4-12, Cleveland s fourth straight season with at least 10 losses.

In 2005 under Carthon, the Browns were last among the league s 32 teams in scoring.

In contrast, Chudzinski is leaving a high-powered offense that helped San Diego win the last 10 regular-season games for an AFC-best 14-2 record.

I tried to fit [league MVP] LaDainian [Tomlinson] in my bag, but I couldn t bring him with me, Chudzinski told reporters at a news conference yesterday.

Still, he described how as a boy, he and his cousins would face their television toward the window and go outside to watch Browns games so they could feel as if they were in the stands.

In the end, he couldn t resist coming back to the team of his childhood or its problems.

If you are a coach and you don t like challenges, then you shouldn t be coaching, Chudzinski said. I know there are some players here who we can build on and hopefully, I can help make a difference.

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