League friends, strangers miffed over Browns’ firing of coach Rob Chudzinski

INDIANAPOLIS: Former Browns coach Rob Chudzinski was chatting in the lobby bar at the J.W. Marriott hotel Saturday night, when a man he had never met approached.

The man shook Chudzinski’s hand, told him how unfairly he thought he had been treated, wished him well and offered his business card.

“That was another one,” Chudzinski said, flashing the card before he tucked it in his pocket.

Since Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, the supporter’s reaction has been a common theme. Many who know Chudzinski, worked with him, played for him or played for the Browns believe he got a raw deal when he was fired Dec. 29 after less than 12 months on the job.

Former Browns secondary coach Chuck Pagano, the Indianapolis Colts coach who recently hired Chudzinski as his special assistant, couldn’t get the words out fast enough when encountered crossing the street after having dinner with Chudzinski on Thursday. Pagano, who has known Chudzinski since 1986 at the University of Miami, had just coerced a local cab driver to give Chudzinski a free ride to his car on the other side of Lucas Oil Stadium.

Former Browns tight end Steve Heiden, who played for Chudzinski in Cleveland in 2004 and in 2007-08, was another who immediately brought it up. Heiden is beginning his second season as the Arizona Cardinals assistant special teams/assistant tight ends coach.

Chudzinski was sitting at a table with former Browns offensive coordinator and receivers coach Terry Robiskie, who worked with Chudzinski in Cleveland in 2004 and has been a friend and mentor since.

Members of the national media, many still marveling over Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s quick trigger finger, wondered whether Chudzinski would have been given a second season if Haslam had first fired CEO Joe Banner and General Manager Mike Lombardi, ousted Feb. 11.

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