Chris Kiffin leaves Ole Miss football coaching staff after one month, returns to Cleveland Browns, sources say

After less than one month with Ole Miss football, Chris Kiffin is returning to the NFL and his old job as the Cleveland Browns' defensive line coach, sources told ESPN on Thursday.

Kiffin, 40, accepted the collegiate job in mid-January to join his brother, Lane Kiffin, at Ole Miss and was formally announced as the Rebels' co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. His decision to return to the Browns centered on the NFL's work schedule being more conducive to raising a family, sources told ESPN.

Chris Kiffin and his wife have four children, and the Browns' defensive line job had yet to be filled after he initially left. He has coached the Browns' defensive line the past two seasons.

He took the job at Ole Miss to replace DJ Durkin, who left to become defensive coordinator at Texas A&M. Chris Partridge remains Ole Miss co-defensive coordinator and has also coached safeties the past two seasons.

Partridge, who was at Michigan for five seasons before coming to Ole Miss, is expected to be the primary playcaller on defense next season for the Rebels.

This would have been Kiffin's second stint as defensive coordinator under his older brother, with Chris having worked for Lane at Florida Atlantic in 2017 when the Owls won their first Conference USA title.

Chris Kiffin then moved to the NFL as pass-rush specialist for the San Francisco 49ers 2018-19 before getting the defensive line job with the Browns in 2020. He also worked at Ole Miss under Hugh Freeze from 2012 to 2016 as defensive line coach and was a graduate assistant at the school in 2007.

Ole Miss, which won 10 games in the regular season for the first time in school history, has loaded up this offseason with a haul that has been ranked among the top transfer portal classes in the country. The Rebels improved dramatically in 2021, going from 117th nationally in scoring defense (38.3 points per game) to 51st (24.7 points per game).