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Bengals fire Hue Jackson, per report

Jackson is out after a brief stint in Cincinnati after being fired by the Browns.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Hue Jackson is not returning to the Cincinnati Bengals, per Elise Jesse.

The Bengals actually interviewed Jackson for the head-coaching gig, but he won’t even get a position coach or coordinator spot on the new staff. The Bengals also let go of current offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, which led to speculation he could be Cincinnati’s new coordinator, but that is off the table now.

Of the eight candidates the Bengals interviewed, Jackson was one of two with head coaching experience at the NFL level. In three-and-a-half years with the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns, Jackson put together a record of 11-44-1. His winning percentage of .205 is the lowest in the NFL since the AFL merger in 1970.

It didn’t begin too bad for Jackson, who was hired to coach the Raiders back in 2011. Oakland went 8-8 that season but fired Jackson anyways due to a power struggle with the team when they hired Reggie McKenzie as their general manager that offseason. From there, Jackson made his way back to Cincinnati, where he was Marvin Lewis’ wide receivers coach from 2004 to 2006.

Jackson was hired as the Bengals’ defensive backs coach for the 2012 season and moved over the offensive side of the ball in 2013 to coach the running backs. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden took the Washington head-coaching job at the start of the 2014 offseason and Jackson took his place. Jackson ran the Bengals’ offense from 2014 to 2015, the latter year saw the Bengals’ offense reach heights that a team under Lewis hadn’t reached since 2005.

The Browns took a chance on Jackson following in 2016 and gave him his second go-around as head coach, and it went about as awful as it could’ve. After going 1-15 in his first year, the Browns became the second team in NFL history to go 0-16 in 2017. Jackson’s Browns went 0-4 against Lewis’ Bengals in that timeframe as well, as you could’ve guessed.

Jackson’s firing seemed inevitable during the 2018 season if they didn’t show significant signs of improvement under his leadership. The team hired John Dorsey as their general manager and the Browns’ roster was beginning to resemble that of a capable one.

Dorsey traded for quarterback Tyrod Taylor and drafted quarterback Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick a month later, but Jackson never gave Mayfield first-team reps until Taylor suffered a concussion in Week 3. Mayfield took over and ran with the job, but the team was still vastly underperforming under Jackson.

Following a loss to the Steelers, Jackson (and offensive coordinator Todd Haley) was fired after winning just three of his 40 games with the organization. The Browns went on to close out the year 5-3 and finished 7-8-1 under interim head coach Gregg Williams.

Jackson wasn’t unemployed for long, as his old friend Lewis called him up two weeks later and made him his “special assistant” as he assumed duties as the defensive coordinator after the Bengals fired Teryl Austin from that position. Jackson’s true role in his third stint with Cincinnati isn’t exactly known, but he assisted Lewis with the defense in terms of in-game management.

As soon as Jackson was re-integrated within the franchise, speculation began brewing that he would officially become Lewis’ heir as head coach. There was talk of a succession plan back in 2016 before Jackson went to Cleveland, but that fell through as Jackson decided to make his own path in Cleveland. Little did he know he would proceed to utterly fall on his face and blame practically everyone he possibly could for his failures on his way out just two-and-a-half years laters.

Cincinnati was the only team to inquire Jackson about their opening at head coach, and considering the major blemishes on his résumé and how he left Cleveland, that’s not at all surprising. This is because Cincinnati is Jackson’s home, in the sense that it’s where he goes when he’s out of a job.

No other team would hire Jackson after what happened with the Browns, and thankfully, that included the Bengals, who are set to hire Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor.

We also don’t have to worry about Vance Joseph, who is now defensive coordinator of the Cardinals. Depending on who you asked, Joseph and Jackson were the early favorites to be the Bengals’ next coach, but they’ll both be elsewhere in 2019.