Browns hire Bengals' Jackson as coach

CLEVELAND (AP) A person familiar with the decision says the Browns are hiring Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson as their next coach.
Jackson will become the team’s eighth coach since 1999 once the sides have finalized his deal, the person told The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the hiring.
The Browns were drawn to the 50-year-old Jackson because he has NFL head coaching experience, his deep knowledge of the AFC North and his strong record working with quarterbacks.
Cleveland has the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft and will likely use it on a quarterback.
Jackson spent the past two seasons overseeing Cincinnati’s offense. He pushed quarterback Andy Dalton to his best statistical season and was known for his creative flair with unbalanced lines and unorthodox formations.
Jackson replaces Mike Pettine, who was fired after going 10-22 in two seasons.
After dismissing Pettine – and general manager Ray Farmer – owner Jimmy Haslam was determined to find the right coach to serve as ”the leader of the team and the face of the franchise.” For now, that’s Jackson, who has spent 15 seasons coaching in the NFL, establishing himself as one of the profession’s rising stars.
Jackson’s challenge in Cleveland will be turning around a team that can’t seem to get out of its own way. Pettine had the Browns off to a 7-4 start in 2014, but lost 18 of his last 21 games. The Browns were at times competitive, but remain at the bottom of one of the league’s toughest divisions.
Jackson had his second interview with Haslam on Tuesday in Cincinnati. Jackson had scheduled an interview for Thursday with the New York Giants, but the Browns made sure that wouldn’t happen and now have their sixth coach since 2008.

AP NFL websites: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL