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What The Browns Shakeups Could Mean For Columbus Crew

A Cleveland Browns helmet is seen before an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018 in Pittsburgh.
Winslow Townson
Associated Press

The Cleveland Browns have been "brownsing" pretty hard in recent months. This could be bad news for a team much closer to home, now that the Columbus Crew shares the same ownership.

The team known for dysfunction since it returned to the NFL in 1999 is searching for its fourth head coach in less than two years, following the dismissal of Freddie Kitchens. They're in the market for a general manager too, after firing John Dorsey.

"The one constant has been change with them," says The Athletic reporter Tom Reed. "They just have not been able to get it right."

Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam were part of the group that purchased the Crew to keep them in town.

Already, Reed says, there are differences in how the teams' early years are playing out with the Haslams. 

"They had trouble attracting big names early on [with the Browns]," Reed says. "Whereas those were strong hires by the Crew: Tim Bezbatchenko as kinda the general manager/president of the team and certainly Caleb Porter. Those are strong and well-known names, names that are associated with championships. So they got the hiring as far as getting someone they really wanted right, right off the bat."

The Columbus Crew failed to make the postseason in 2019, closing with a record of 10-16-8.  Reed thinks this year will be a bellweather for the team.

"Last year was kinda the honeymoon period," he says. "The team didn't perform well on the field, but everyone was so happy the team was staying and a new stadium was in the works. This will be a very big year, for everyone involved."

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.