Could Arizona State be interested in Hue Jackson?

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson may be nearing his final days in town, but could a return to the desert be in his future?

The Cleveland Browns slow march toward the end of another lost season continues this Sunday in Los Angeles against the Chargers.

The game against the Chargers will be the first of Cleveland’s final five opportunities to avoid the first winless season in franchise history and just the second 0-16 campaign in NFL history.

But even if the Browns pull out a win between now and the end of the season, the final whistle of the game on Dec. 31 against the Pittsburgh Steelers should mark the end of Hue Jackson’s tenure as head coach.

As it stands, a loss to the Chargers would drop Jackson’s record with the Browns to 1-27, which would be the worst start for a head coach with a team since the NFL was founded in 1920.

If owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam are concerned about Jackson’s future if they make him the fourth full-time head coach they have fired since buying the Browns in 2012, they needn’t worry as Jackson could have a landing spot out west.

Over the weekend Arizona State fired head coach Todd Graham despite a win over rival Arizona to claim the Territorial Cup and a 7-5 record on the season.

On Wednesday, former Sun Devil quarterback Jake Plummer was on an Arizona radio show and offered up a take on who should take over the reigns of the football program at his alma mater, according to Jeremy Cluff at

"“(Hue Jackson) did a lot for my advancement and evolution as a quarterback. I have a close relationship with Coach Jackson. If he were to come into the mix, of course I would lend my support to him. If I was him I would be wanting to get out of Cleveland.”"

Well, isn’t that interesting?

Jackson has a history with the Sun Devils as he was the team’s running backs/quarterback coach from 1992 through 1995, while Plummer played for the team from 1993 to 1996.

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There is no way of knowing how much influence Plummer has with the athletic department at Arizona State, but the fact that he brought Jackson up by name can’t be a coincidence.  Jackson works overtime to make sure his messages get out through his friends in the media, and that could extend to Plummer, given his description of having a close relationship with Jackson.

And there is little doubt that the comment about wanting to get out of Cleveland was carefully scripted to help reinforce the message that Jackson bears no responsibility for what has gone on in Cleveland under his watch.

It could be that Plummer is floating out the idea so Jackson can start gauging if there is any interest in case these are his final weeks in Cleveland. Jackson could also be hoping that if the Haslams believe other teams want him, then they may be more inclined to overlook his record and poor game management skills and keep him for another season.

While Jackson would probably do the Browns more help if he were to take over the Cincinnati Bengals next season, having him in Arizona would work just as well. Ultimately it may not matter as the Haslams may decide to stay the course or make things worse by firing the front office and retaining Jackson.

Next: Browns: Week 12 takeaways on offense

Under normal circumstances this could be written off as just idle chatter, but it has become clear over the past year and a half that there is no such thing as meaningless talk when it comes to Jackson.