BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Even before it started, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski recognized his first season wouldn't be without challenges. His dream job would require hard work and grueling hours.
Maybe more than he bargained for.
Turning around a perpetual loser — especially the team closest to his heart — wasn't going to happen overnight. It never does in Cleveland. There were going to be tough days, and Monday was yet another one.
For the sixth straight week, Chudzinski, his dark, sunken eyes showing the season's wear and tear, was forced to explain what went wrong after the Browns (4-11) lost 24-13 on Sunday to the New York Jets. The latest loss followed a familiar script: get an early lead, give up points late in the first half, break down defensively in the second half and collapse.
Chudzinski's rookie year has been rocky. Still, he's undaunted by the task.
"I understood the challenges that we had," he said. "I know what it takes here, specifically. I think, again, I'll go back to the plan that we have overall as an organization to establish the type of success long term that we want and that that would take some time to get to.
"I know what I signed up for."
Chudzinski is keenly aware of the frustration felt by Cleveland fans, who have endured more than their share of losing. The Browns have lost at least 11 games in each of the past six seasons and have 12 double-digit loss seasons since their expansion re-start in 1999.
They've lost 162 games since '99, tied with Detroit for the most in the NFL.
Chudzinski, too, bears the scars of losing. He knows firsthand the pain and suffering that comes with rooting for the Browns.
"I grew up as a Browns fan," he said. "I know the frustration, I understand the frustration. I've lived it. I can only say that there's nothing more that I want than for this place to be a winner and for us to turn it around, and we'll get that done."
Chudzinski has plenty of excuses he could use, but he's not about to trot out any of them. The Browns' quarterback carousel has spun all season; the team traded running back Trent Richardson and didn't adequately replace him; and the front office has spent much of the year tinkering with the bottom of the roster.