On Friday a story broke that Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslem said that he tried to trade for current San Fransisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh before signing new Head Coach Mike Pettine. This report was initially denied by both Jim Harbaugh and by San Fransisco 49ers CEO Jed York. Today both Jed York and Jimmy Haslem admitted that Cleveland had indeed made a play for Harbaugh but the 49ers weren’t interested.
It seems to me that Jimmy Haslem is setting Mike Pettine up for failure. I understand the need to bring in a big name coach and that Harbaugh is the hottest ticket to punch. The guy in his three years as an NFL coach has taken his team to the NFC Championship, Superbowl XLVII, and the NFC Championship game. Granted that Mike Pettine was not Jimmy Haslem’s first choice to coach the Browns. He wasn’t even his second or third choice but you can’t go out and give the guy you hired a vote of no confidence before he has ever coached a game. Granted again that if the Browns turn in another 4-12 season or worse then go ahead try and trade for Harbaugh again after the season. I can even accept that you are wiling to trade for him if the Browns go 5-11 or 6-10. Though at 5-11, or 6-10 I think you should be happy with the job Mike Pettine has done based on the previous year’s performance. If the Browns go 7-9 or 8-8, I think Mike Pettine will have coached himself into the second year of his four year contract. I don’t honestly expect the Browns to be better than an 8-8 team this year anyway. Pettine when asked at the combine about the Harbaugh story to his credit, basically said I’m focusing on my job and I will not allow petty distractions like this get to me.
We don’t know what kind of coach Mike Pettine will be but so far if I’m a Browns fan I have to be happy with what I’m seeing so far. Pettine could be a diamond in the rough or he could be another Rob Chudzinski and Pat Shurmer. As a fan I sorely hope the Browns turn it around under Pettine it would be nice to see the Browns be a relevant team again. Then again as the old cliché goes only time will tell.