By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
5:36 PM EST, January 23, 2014
When new Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine first started working for the Ravens, he did all of the grunt work.
Pettine joined former Ravens coach Brian Billick's staff in 2002 after a successful stint as a high school coach in Pennsylvania. He was initially a coaching assistant for quality control, breaking down video and helping to develop playbooks and build scouting reports.
After a steady rise from that position, to defensive assistant, then outside linebackers coach where he coached Terrell Suggs and Adalius Thomas, Pettine was eventually named the New York Jets' defensive coordinator as coach Rex Ryan's right-hand man. He later became the Buffalo Bills' defensive coordinator.
Now, he's an NFL head coach for the first time. It's a huge move for Pettine and a testament to what hard work and perseverance can accomplish.
“We are thrilled to announce Mike Pettine as the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns,” Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. “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.”
During Pettine's season with the Bills, the defense set a franchise record with 57 sacks, led by Mario Williams' 13. In five seasons an an NFL defensive coordinator, all of Pettine's defenses have ranked in the top 10 in the league in total defense.Pettine was named the coach after an extensive, somewhat meandering search.
“We wanted to be thorough from the start, and we interviewed as many people as we could," Browns CEO Joe Banner said. "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.”