Hue Jackson is on the hunt for an NFL team that will look beyond his less-than-stellar track record.
For the first time in 32 years, Jackson, who was axed by the Browns last season following an abysmal 3-36-1 record, is planning for a fall with no team to coach. Despite the lack of success, Jackson believes he has what it takes to lead a team.
“Oh, yeah, I mean I think I can,” Jackson said Wednesday on Charlotte’s WFNZ 102.5 FM. “I mean, just because the situation in Cleveland [didn’t work out] doesn’t mean that you can’t coach. There’s a lot of great coaches who came before me that coached there and went on and did great things. Sometimes, the situation is different. I think if people dig in and really take the time to look at the overall situation there, maybe they would understand it more.
“But at the same time, I understand when narratives get put out there, that’s what people know. Hopefully, people will think back to the times when I’ve put myself in that position,” he added. “I had to be doing something right. To go back and be a coordinator again or be a head coach again, I do believe it’s in my future. I’ve just got to go work through the process and see where it goes.”
Jackson began his coaching career in 1987 as a graduate assistant specializing in wide receivers, running backs and special teams for Pacific, his alma mater. He worked with four other college teams after that. In 2011, he was named the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, surmising a record of 8-8 before being axed the following year. He was named head coach of the Browns in 2016 but was fired last year after Cleveland’s Week 8 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
During the offseason, Jackson, 53, interviewed for the Bengals’ head coaching job and the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator position, posts that went to Zac Taylor and Tom Clements, respectively.
“Here’s a guy that knows how to overcome,” Jackson replied when asked what he wants his narrative to be. “There’s a lot of people that would run from it all. I’m not going to run from it. At the end of the day, that was me, our staff and the people who led Cleveland, but that doesn’t mean those coaches can’t coach or they don’t understand what they’re doing.
“Maybe that just wasn’t the right fit, the right situation for that group, and they just need to have the right opportunity to have success.”
While Jackson has coached for six NFL teams, including the Baltimore Ravens, the Washington Redskins, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Atlanta Falcons, he maintains he did his best in Cleveland.
“I’ve said this before, I think during those times, it was probably some of the best coaching I did contrary to what people think, because you’re always doing anything and everything you can to find a way to win,” Jackson said. “Now, whether it happens or not, that’s not up to me sometimes. Again, I think I learned a lot.”