CLEVELAND - The Browns have hired Buffalo defensive coordinator Mike Pettine as their coach, ending a twisting, nearly four-week search.
Pettine finalized a contract Thursday with the Browns, who fired Rob Chudzinski on Dec. 29 following one season. The 47-year-old Pettine, the son of a legendary Pennsylvania high school coach, spent one year with the Bills after four as Rex Ryan's defensive coordinator with the New York Jets.
With his clean-shaven head and no-nonsense approach, Pettine is popular with players. He'll inherit a Cleveland team that went 4-12 this season after losing its last seven games.
Pettine emerged as the favorite to become Cleveland's seventh full-time coach since 1999 - and fourth in six years - as the Browns eliminated candidates and Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase, considered the front-runner when the search started, told the team to move on without him.