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Hue Jackson Says His 'Biggest Regret' is Leaving Cincinnati For Cleveland

Hue Jackson Says His 'Biggest Regret' Was Leaving Cincinnati For Cleveland
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CINCINNATI — Hue Jackson is a polarizing figure in Ohio. The former Browns head coach and Bengals offensive coordinator has had his fair share of success and struggle over the past decade.

Jackson helped the Bengals finish 12-4 in 2015. His success as Cincinnati's offensive coordinator made him one of the top candidates for a head coaching job. 

He interviewed for multiple head coaching positions before ultimately accepting the Browns offer. 

It never worked out for Jackson in Cleveland. He posted a 1-31 record in his first two seasons. He was fired after a 2-5-1 start in 2018. 

The 54-year-old admitted that he never should've taken the Browns job in an appearance on New Stripe City and the Orange is the New Black Podcast. 

"My top one is leaving Cincinnati to go to Cleveland," Jackson said bluntly. "I was with a really good football team, with a good quarterback who had won a lot of games. Very talented players on offense. Andrew Whitworth, I hope if I would've stayed, I could've convinced the organization to keep him because he was a catalyst for a lot of the things we were doing and he was a tremendous player."

The Bengals wanted to keep Jackson. They offered him a chance to succeed Marvin Lewis as head coach. The succession plan made Jackson uncomfortable, especially since he's close friends with the former Bengals head coach. Ultimately, he chose to make the four-hour trip up I-71 and became head coach of the Browns.

"I think it was the right time for me," Jackson said. "I think everybody knows [about] me and Marvin's relationship. I didn't want Marvin felling like I was every undercutting him because our friendship is more important that a job. At the time there was discussions about me staying. I just didn't feel comfortable with it. I'm very grateful and thankful for the Browns family for extending an opportunity. I just thought it wasn't right. It just didn't feel right. I made a decision to go on. 

"I know one thing, we were winning in Cincinnati and for whatever reason I couldn't get that to happen in Cleveland."

There were plenty of people that thought Jackson would help turn the Browns into a winner. Why didn't it work out in Cleveland?  

"I'm not going to do a deep dive into that," Jackson said. "What I would say to anybody is just go look at the roster. Go look at 2016 and 2017's roster. When I was a winning coach, whether it was in Oakland or in Cincinnati, it's because we had good players.

"If you go back and look Terrelle Pryor was my receiver. He had over 1,000 yards [in 2016]. You just have to go evaluate it all and you'll go 'wait a minute. That is different.' Again, I'm grateful for the opportunity. A lot of people don't get them. It was my second opportunity. But at the same time, boy I wish I would've did that different."

It's not surprising to see Jackson admit that he regrets making the jump to the Browns. His coaching reputation will never recover from his run in Cleveland. A coach doesn't post a 3-36-1 record on his own, but he deserves plenty of blame for his lack of success with the Browns.

Check out Zim 'Who Dey' and Ace Boogie's entire interview with Jackson in the video below. For more on the Bengals, including the latest NFL news, go here!