CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – It appears that Oregon coach Chip Kelly has a very busy Friday on tap.
And he may not remain in Eugene much longer after that.
Kelly is expected to interview with the Cleveland Browns less than 24 hours after the Ducks face Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl Thursday night. He’s also reportedly set to interview with the Philadelphia Eagles as well as Buffalo Bills Friday as well.
Owner Jimmy Haslam said on Monday that he’s not worried about a bidding war breaking out as they move forward to replace Pat Shurmur.
“We’re not going to worry about who else is out there looking for a coach,” Haslam said. “We have our people in mind and we’re going to work hard to bring the right person here to Cleveland.”
It’s not clear who will get the first interview with Kelly on Friday but it’s clear that he will come in holding a tremendous amount of leverage.
Haslam and CEO Joe Banner have spent the past few days in Arizona to begin the process of finding Shurmur’s successor.
They have already interviewed Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who described his meeting with the team as “fantastic,” Tuesday evening and former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt on Wednesday.
Whisenhunt, who spent 6 seasons in Arizona, was a special teams coordinator under Chris Palmer in 1999 and spent several years in Pittsburgh as an assistant coach before becoming the Steelers’ offensive coordinator in 2004.
Ironically Banner could be squaring off against his former team – the Eagles – to land Kelly’s services.
“We go into this extremely confident that we can go after the top people available, at least the top people in our opinion, and that we have a very good chance of being successful in convincing them that this is the right situation,” Banner said. “Most of these top coaches are focused on finding a place where they think they can win and we think we can make a very good case why this is the best opportunity in the league right now.”
Including the Browns, no less than 7 teams are looking for new head coaches.
Check that. 6 because the Kansas City Chiefs are reportedly very close to hiring Andy Reid to replace Romeo Crennel.
Reid is also expected to bring former Browns general manager Tom Heckert with him and there’s a chance that Shurmur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress, who is still technically under contract with the Browns, could join Reid’s staff.
The Browns interview Penn State coach Bill O’Brien this week according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer and Syracuse coach Doug Marrone met with Haslam and Banner Thursday in Arizona.