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Browns fire special teams coordinator Mike Priefer

Posted at 9:00 AM, Feb 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-22 10:46:20-05

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns have parted ways with special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, league sources have confirmed to News 5's Camryn Justice.

Priefer has been with the Browns since 2019, returning to his hometown of Cleveland to coach the special teams unit. After some rookie struggles at kicker and some regression at times in punting and coverage, many fans lost confidence in Priefer to be able to get the job done in 2023.

Prifer's unit last season dealt with blown kick and punt coverages that led to explosive returns for opposing teams. Rookie kicker Cade York had moments of struggle, missing eight field goals and two extra points.

While at the end of the season, there was speculation that Priefer's job was in jeopardy, the special team's coordinator was confident that he would remain with Cleveland, noting his passion for his job.

"I love it here. I am under contract. I don’t plan on going anywhere else. I am from Cleveland. I want to help Cleveland win a world championship. That is why I am here, and that is my focus," Preifer said at his final press conference.

However, the Browns decided a change was needed and opted to part ways with him early into preparation for the 2023 season.

The Browns had previously fired defensive coordinator Joe Woods after a disappointing defensive performance last season and quickly filled the position with Jim Schwartz.

"I appreciate everything Prief has done for this team in his three seasons as my special teams coordinator, but I have decided to move in another direction in the best interest of our organization," head coach Kevin Stefanski said. "I know this city will forever be grateful for the job he did as acting head coach in our AFC Wildcard win and for all his contributions while leading the Browns special team's units for the last four seasons. We wish Prief the best with his next opportunity."

The Browns have requested to interview Colts Special Teams Coordinator Bubba Ventrone for the opening, a source confirms. Another name believed to be in the mix is Giants assistant special teams coordinator Anthony Blevins.

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