The Browns franchise has a recent history of scouring untapped talent pools to fill leadership gigs.
The Cleveland Browns have been a struggling franchise when it comes to wins and losses, but the organization and General Manager John Dorsey haven’t been shy about publicly pushing the envelope, thinking outside of the box and being a leader in the NFL’s search for diversity at head coaching and front office positions.
John Dorsey says he'd be willing to consider a female coach for the Browns, which could inspire more females to pursue football coaching opportunities https://t.co/kY3N8T4DXL
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 15, 2018
On Wednesday, Dorsey listed three important factors for the team’s next head coach: “I would like to see a man of character. I would like to see a man who can lead young men. I would like to see a man who has high football acumen.”
In fact, he might not even be looking for a man.
Asked specifically whether age will be a factor in the search, Dorsey said this: “I just want the best possible head coach to move this thing forward regardless of age. It could be a woman, too. Do not look at me like that. I am serious. Who knows? We will look at everything is what I am trying to tell you all.”
To have a woman considered for one of 32 coveted NFL head coaching jobs would be a watershed moment for the advancement of equality for women in men’s sports at the highest leadership levels.
It’s something that was unfathomable in the past, but as women keep chipping away at milestones and opportunities that were previously unfairly denied them, the sky’s the limit. Especially, if the men doing the hiring ignores old fashioned beliefs and focus on choosing the best candidate.
News breaking out of @buffalobills camp:
— Sam Rapoport (@samrap10) August 30, 2018
Cleveland ownership hired Hue Jackson and stuck with him through two brutal seasons before firing him. Despite the rough times, Jackson finally had the franchise moving in the right direction. He won’t get to see the finished product, but his patience and positive leadership in the midst of unbearable losing was impactful. It didn’t take Jackson — considered an offensive guru throughout his 18-year-career — long to land on his feet with a new gig.
It was announced on Tuesday that he is returning to Cincinnati as special assistant to Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. This is Jackson’s third coaching position with Cincy. He’s served as an assistant coach twice (2004-2006, and 2012-2013) and as an offensive coordinator (2014-2015).
When Jackson was hired in 2016 and became one of the few African-American NFL head coaches, Cleveland also hired a young, brilliant African-American private attorney named Sashi Brown to be the franchise’s Executive Vice President of football operations in January of 2016, until Brown was fired for on December 7, 2017 after just one year on the job.
One thing for sure, the next Browns GM will be lauded as a genius on the back of Sashi Brown's efforts. Trenches built, picks STOCKED.
— Anpanman (@a_j_macabre) December 7, 2017
Brown, a Hampton undergraduate and Harvard Law grad, didn’t have much football front office experience, but his Ivy league pedigree and understanding of analytics and asset acquisition was attractive. He was also Cleveland’s executive vice president/general counsel for three years.
Brown’s dismissal left the NFL with just four Black GM’s at the time, but the fact that Haslam entrusted his franchise with Brown speaks volumes to Cleveland ownership’s ability to incorporate new blood and new ideas into the mix.
There’s a large group of folks who feel like Dorsey was just playing to the cameras with insisting that he’d hire the first woman NFL head coach in history.
— Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) November 11, 2018
Then again, Dorsey could simply be acting as the mouthpiece of Haslam’s progressive and socially conscious tendencies. If that’s the case, then Cleveland has broken ground by becoming the first team to openly admit that a woman could be hired as head coach of the franchise. That alone is 1,000 steps forward for all mankind.
Cleveland may not have this Super Bowl thing figured out yet, but they certainly have the business of equal opportunity on lock. When the talent and the culture peaks, Cleveland has a chance to become a blue chip franchise that other teams use as a blueprint for NFL success. Go figure.