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Browns hire ex-Jets DC Mike Pettine as their head coach

FILE - In this July 31, 2013, file

FILE - In this July 31, 2013, file photo, Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine walks to the field during NFL football training camp in Pittsford, N.Y. Pettine has interviewed for the Cleveland Browns head coaching position, a person familiar with the Browns' plans told the Associated Press. Pettine interviewed with owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner last week and will have his second meeting on Tuesday night, Jan. 21, 2014, in Mobile, Ala., said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not commenting during its search. Pettine is at the Senior Bowl in Mobile with other members of Buffalo's staff. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert, File) (Credit: AP)

The Cleveland Browns announced Thursday that they have hired former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine as their new head coach.

Pettine, who spent four seasons as Rex Ryan's defensive coordinator, bolted for Buffalo at the end of the 2012 season.

“We are thrilled to announce Mike Pettine as the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns,” said owner Jimmy Haslam. “Mike is the epitome of what we want the Browns to be -- tough, aggressive and innovative -- with a blue-collar, team-first mentality. He knows what's necessary to beat teams in the AFC North. Most importantly, Mike has repeatedly shown the ability to lead his players to consistent improvement and success, clearly what we are striving for as he leads the Cleveland Browns moving forward.”

Said Browns CEO Joe Banner: “We wanted to be thorough from the start and we interviewed as many people as we could. From that group, we hired the best individual for this job. Our players and fans are going to really enjoy Mike Pettine and his leadership style. We’re excited to have him out in front of our team, and we look forward to working closely with him.”

Pettine spent 11 years with Ryan in some capacity, both with the Ravens and Jets. All of his units have finished in the Top 10 in total defense in all five of his seasons as a defensive coordinator.

In Pettine's only year in Buffalo, the Bills defense went from being ranked 22nd overall in 2012 to 10th in 2013. The Bills also improved from being 20th in interceptions to second in the league this past season.

It's been a rather quick ascent for Pettine, who was a high school head coach in Pennsylvannia just 13 years ago. 

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