CLEVELAND (AP) — Freddie Kitchens was fired after one stormy, discouraging season as Browns coach.
This weekend he'll get a shot at some personal payback.
Kitchens will call plays for New York on Sunday night against Cleveland after Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.
Kitchens is coaching New York's tight ends this season, but it was innovative play-calling when he was elevated during the 2018 season from running backs coach to interim coordinator that helped him get Cleveland's coaching gig.
It's an interesting twist for a matchup that already has high stakes for both teams as they push to make the playoffs.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski, who replaced Kitchens, isn't expecting the Giants to do much differently.
“First of all, I hope Coach Garrett is feeling OK,” Stefanski said opening his Zoom call. “I don’t think it changes much. They have an offensive philosophy that they believe in. I don’t think it changes much regardless of who is calling the plays on Sunday. ”
Kitchens was a popular choice when owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam hired the former Alabama quarterback, who endeared himself to Cleveland fans with his straight forward approach, Southern drawl, connection Browns QB Baker Mayfield and aggressive play-calling.
But a 2019 season that began with massive expectations — and talk of playoffs — quickly fizzled as the Browns underachieved, finished 6-10 and Kitchens was added to the long list of Cleveland coaching failures.
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