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Search Over: Browns hire Buffalo coordinator Mike Pettine as coach, ends 25-day search

The Browns have hired Buffalo defensive coordinator Mike Pettine as their coach, ending a twisting, nearly four-week search.

Pettine finalized a contract Thursday with the Browns, who fired Rob Chudzinski on Dec. 29 following one season. The 47-year-old Pettine, the son of a legendary Pennsylvania high school coach, spent one year with the Bills after four as Rex Ryan's defensive coordinator with the New York Jets.

With his clean-shaven head and no-nonsense approach, Pettine is popular with players. He'll inherit a Cleveland team that went 4-12 this season after losing its last seven games.

Pettine emerged as the favorite to become Cleveland's seventh full-time coach since 1999 — and fourth in six years — as the Browns eliminated candidates and Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase, considered the front-runner when the search started, told the team to move on without him.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org