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NFL head-coach hires: Browns promote Freddie Kitchens; Broncos hire Vic Fangio

The Cleveland Browns are hiring Freddie Kitchens as their coach, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press.

Kitchens, who had a dazzling eight-week run as the team's interim offensive coordinator, is finalizing his contract and will be named Cleveland's ninth coach since 1999, said the person, who spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the team was not commenting on the imminent hire.

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ESPN was first to announce the decision.

The 44-year-old Kitchens has no previous head coaching experience, but his work with Cleveland's offense — and quarterback Baker Mayfield — in the season's second half vaulted him ahead of the other six candidates interviewed by the Browns.

Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft, threw 19 of his NFL rookie record 27 touchdown passes while Kitchens oversaw the offense.

It's a meteoric rise for Kitchens, who began the season as the team's running backs coach.

Freddie Kitchens talks to Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield on Nov. 4.
Freddie Kitchens talks to Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield on Nov. 4. (David Richard / Associated Press)

Broncos hire Fangio

A person with knowledge of the decision tells the Associated Press that Denver Broncos general manager John Elway has decided on Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio as his new head coach.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the team hadn't announced the hiring.

Fangio has spent 34 years as an assistant, including two years in the old USFL, but has never been a head coach at any level.

Fangio, who turns 61 in August, is the oldest of the five candidates Elway interviewed to replace Vance Joseph, whom he fired after the Broncos went 11-21 in his two seasons.

Packers confirm LaFleur as their new coach

Matt LaFleur has been named head coach of the Green Bay Packers, the team announced Tuesday night, confirming multiple reports from a day earlier.

The 39-year-old LaFleur spent this season as offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans, his first calling plays in the NFL. Before that, he was offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, helping direct a high-powered offense with coach Sean McVay calling plays.

LaFleur takes over for Mike McCarthy, who was fired during the season following a stunning home loss to Arizona on Dec. 2. Joe Philbin went 2-2 as Green Bay's interim coach. LaFleur will be charged with returning the Packers to the playoffs after the team slipped into mediocrity in McCarthy's final two seasons and the coach's relationship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers grew tenuous.

“We are very excited to welcome Matt as the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers,” team president Mark Murphy said in a statement. “We found a coach with the background and experience that we think will get us back to playing winning football. We're also excited about the person — he is bright with a great work ethic and a perfect fit for Green Bay and the organization.”

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LaFleur's 10 years of NFL coaching experience also include stints as an assistant with Atlanta, Washington and Houston.

He will be introduced at a news conference Wednesday in Green Bay.

Gase is hired as coach by the Jets

A person familiar with the decision says the New York Jets have hired former Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase as coach.

The person spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the hiring.

Gase, 40, was 23-26 in three seasons with Miami, including a playoff game in 2016, before being fired after this season.

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