Chatter strong on Rob Chudzinski's future

PITTSBURGH -- What’s a Cleveland Browns offseason without a job search or job rumor?

It seems to happen annually, like the winter solstice.

Sunday morning, national chatter and reports overwhelmed the Browns-Steelers game that coach Rob Chudzinski’s job status was on the line.

The Browns were aware of the reports, but a team spokesman said the team would not comment on the rumor.

That did not put any of the talk to rest.

Reports continued to circulate that the front office had grown dissatisfied with the on-field performance as a six-game losing streak to end the season wound on and on. (A loss to the Steelers in the finale would be the longest losing streak to end a season in team history.)

The Browns' performance against the Jets was a bad day for everyone, and often that winds up with the coach taking the heat. The Jets entered the game with a 6-8 record and a coach saying he probably would be fired; after being disinterested for the first 20 minutes, they decided they may as well win the game, and they did -- easily. That may have prompted discussions about Chudzinski.

Overall front office unhappiness was the thrust of the report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, who said that there was unrest in Cleveland. Mortensen, though, never specifically mentioned Chudzinski.

Would the Browns fire their handpicked coach after one season? The guy that said how much it meant to come back and coach the team he grew up watching?

That seems harsh for any team, but craziness and wackiness in the NFL have become more commonplace.

The argument about the unfairness of the situation is strong, though.

The Browns have used three different quarterbacks. They have not had a running back since Trent Richardson was traded. Their second receiver contributes little. Their offensive line has been inconsistent. And the defense has given up leads in the fourth quarter of several games.

The new Browns front office promised smarter decisions right away. Their biggest initial hire was Chudzinski.

To think there is chatter about him after one season defies logic.

To think the group that hired him would give him one season to prove himself further defies logic.

Especially when the struggles of 2013 go far beyond the sidelines.