With the writing on the wall for weeks now, the inevitable occurred following a late evening meeting with Cleveland management personnel on Monday.
Butch Davis, the high-profile head coaching candidate chosen to bring competitive football back to the shores of Lake Erie was replaced.
According to team sources, Browns owner Randy Lerner was not going to let the distractions of the past weeks further hamper an organization which is committed to winning. Just last week, Lerner was believed to be hedging on firing the only head football coach under his regime, since taking control of the team following the passing of his father Al Lerner during the 2002 season.
The Browns, Butch Davis and his representative Marvin Demoff completed a financial settlement late Monday night / early Tuesday morning which provides Davis and the team a clean release. Through the settlement, Davis is expected to recoup most of the financials he was to receive on his contract which was to carry through 2007.
Leading the Browns to the playoffs following the 2002 season is viewed as the highlight of the Davis era while in Cleveland. Compiling a 24-36 record while in Cleveland, Davis noted early Tuesday morning that he assumes responsibility for the team he put on the field.
In recent weeks, Lerner had grasped a theory commonly known around the league and especially in Cleveland. Namely, Lerner realized that Davis had created numerous disconnects within the locker room and in the Browns fans community. After watching the tumultuous relationship between the fans, media, and team grow in the past few weeks, Lerner had seen enough.
The expectation level in Cleveland is high, Lerner is expected to completely turn-over the Cleveland front-office and football organizations. An interim coach will be selected from the present coaching staff will finish the season as the head coach for the Browns. Terry Robiskie appears to be the front runner for the position, though experienced coach and current Cleveland defensive coordinator Dave Campo merits consideration.
Under a new front office structure, according to team sources, the Browns are looking to add personnel in the following areas to provide support and a firm structure; Head of Football Operations, a General Manager, as well as a new Head Football Coach. League and team sources tell Scout.com that Cleveland upper-management has begun a search to fill these positions with experienced and respected executives, while bringing back some of the players from the past to have an involvement with the team in some capacity.
The wheels are turning in Cleveland and Randy Lerner is aggressive to turn-around the travesty in the Dawg Pound.