Browns hire Al Saunders as a senior offensive assistant and Kirby Wilson as running game coordinator

Cleveland made two hires to bolster its offensive staff on Wednesday evening, according to multiple reports.

The Browns offensive staff is quickly coming together. 

Both long-time NFL offensive coach, Al Saunders, and former Vikings running backs coach, Kirby Wilson, have been added to Cleveland's coaching staff on Wednesday evening, according to multiple reports. 

Saunders will be the team's senior offensive assistant, as first reported by Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, while Wilson will be the Browns' running game coordinator.

Saunders, 68, coached under current Browns head coach Hue Jackson with the Oakland Raiders, serving as the team's offensive coordinator in 2011.

In that season, Saunders, along with Jackson, helped the Oakland offense, led by Jason Campbell, to an 8-8 record and over 6,000 yards of offense. 

Prior to their time in Oakland, Saunders and Jackson both coached Joe Flacco with the Baltimore Ravens. 

Saunders started in the NFL in 1983 as a wide receivers coach with the San Diego Chargers, becoming the team's head coach from 1986 to 1988. 

Since that time, Saunders has served as an assistant head coach and/or offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams, Ravens, Raiders and, in 2015, the Miami Dolphins.

While Saunders will have roles on both sides of Cleveland's offense, Wilson will be tasked with revitalizing a Browns rushing attack that finished 22nd in the NFL with just 95.6 yards per game and 29th in the league with just five rushing touchdowns. 

Wilson, 54, helped Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to lead the league with 1,485 yards as his position coach and helped Minnesota to finish fourth in the NFL with 138.2 rush yards per game. 

Prior to his two seasons in Minnesota, Wilson spent six seasons as the running backs coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, coaching the likes of Le'Veon Bell, Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall to productive seasons.

Outside of his time in Pittsburgh and Minnesota, Wilson has been an NFL running backs coach since 1997, holding the position with the New England Patriots, Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals. 

In addition to Wilson, the Browns are reportedly expected to hire long-time NFL offensive coach, Al Saunders, to be the team's senior offensive assistant. 

The trio of Wilson, Saunders and Jackson-- who told Sirius XM Radio that he will call the team's plays-- will likely head Cleveland's offensive attack next season.

The Browns have also expressed interest in former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton, to join the team's offensive staff.

Horton Close?

While the offensive additions are all but official, it also appears as though Ray Horton is close to becoming the team's defensive coordinator, per multiple reports. 

Horton, on Sunday, was reportedly already heading to Cleveland, after being "insulted" amidst an interview for the Titan's head coaching position.

Following that report, however, Horton refuted the report from the Tennessean, saying that he was happy with the Titans and was even looking for an extension from the organization. 

Despite working on an extension with Tennessee, Horton interviewed with the Browns earlier this week and now seems set to become Cleveland's defensive coordinator. 

For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.


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