Cleveland Browns say they ‘welcomed’ NFL inquiry into tanking claims made by former coach Hue Jackson

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns have spoken to an NFL investigator looking into claims by former coach Hue Jackson, who said the team intentionally lost games — tanked — in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Jackson, now coaching at Grambling State, was fired by Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam eight games into the 2018 season with a 3-36-1 record.

In February, Jackson indicated in a series of posts on social media that the team paid him bonuses incentivizing him to lose and that he was set up to fail. Jackson later softened those claims.

The Browns went 1-15 in 2016 and 0-16 in 2017.

Spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed the league engaged former Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White to look into Jackson’s allegations.

“The review is ongoing and is expected to conclude soon,” McCarthy said in an email to The Associated Press.

The team released a statement Monday night, saying it has worked with the league on its inquiry.

“Even though Hue recanted his allegations a short time after they were made, it was important to us and to the integrity of the game to have an independent review of the allegations,” team spokesman Peter Jean-Baptiste said. “We welcomed an investigation and we are confident the results will show, as we’ve previously stated, that these allegations are categorically false.

“We have cooperated with Mary Jo White and look forward to the findings.”

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