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Browns Coaching Search Moves Into 2nd Week

By DARYL RUITER, 92.3 The Fan Browns Beat Reporter
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(Photo by Daryl Ruiter / CBS Cleveland)

(Photo by Daryl Ruiter / CBS Cleveland)

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CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns coaching search moved into it’s second week Monday.

Some would say that new owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner have struck out in 1 week. We’ll go with the “swing and a miss” philosophy.

Names to cross off the list:

- Dirk Koetter – signed a 2-year contract to remain the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator.

- Bill O’Brien – pried an extra $1.3 million per year out of Penn State to stay in Happy Vally last week.

- Chip Kelly – after being wined and dined all weekend by the Browns and Eagles, Kelly went back to Phil Knight’s billions and the Oregon Ducks.

- Doug Marrone – he appeared to be the backup plan for the Browns to Kelly, was hired by the Buffalo Bills and introduced on Monday.

- Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy and John Gruden – the three are thrilled with their network TV jobs and not looking to leave anytime soon.

With those names now scratched off, here’s a quick look at who could be on the list going forward:

- Nick Saban, Alabama head coach – Saban will try to win his 3rd national title in 4 years with the Crimson Tide Monday night against Notre Dame.

He continues to say that he has no interest in returning to the NFL.

“I don’t have any unfinished business in the NFL,” Saban said Saturday at media day for the BCS Championship. “I have a job right now and I want to do the best job that I possibly can for this team, right now. … That’s not something that I’m concerned about. It’s not something I’m thinking about; it’s not even something that I want to do. I want to be a college coach.”

Conventional wisdom says that Haslam will make 1 last run at Saban, who also won a title with LSU, following Monday’s BCS Championship game. Saban fits what Haslam is looking for to a ‘T’ but like Kelly, would Saban be 100% committed to coming to the Browns?

Doubtful but still worth one last shot.

- Brian Kelly, Notre Dame head coach – Kelly’s stock has risen significantly since returning the Irish back to prominence. Like Saban, he also maintains he’s happy where he’s at in South Bend.

“I think from my perspective I’ve got the best job in the country, NFL, college, high school, whatever,” Kelly said. “I just look at the place that I’m at and thankful for the opportunity that I have.”

- Ken Whisenhunt, former Arizona Cardinals coach – Whisenthunt has Steelers roots and was their former offensive coordinator before taking the Cardinals job. He interviewed with the Browns last Wednesday.

Whisenhunt won the most games of any coach in team history and of the team’s 3 winning seasons the past 28 years, 2 came with him as coach. In 6 seasons, he went 45-51, 4-2 in the playoffs but was fired after the Cardinals started 4-0 but lost 11 of their last 12 to finish 5-11 this past season.

He led the Cardinals to a Superbowl in just his 2nd season where they lost to the Steelers in Tampa. The following year they won a franchise record 10 games but it’s been downhill for Arizona ever since following Kurt Warner’s retirement.

- Ray Horton, former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator – Horton interviewed with the Browns last Tuesday and told the Arizona Republic that it went “fantastic.” He’s interviewed with several teams and also fulfilled the Rooney rule for Haslam and Banner.

Horton was an assistant in Pittsburgh from 2004-10 and has won 3 Super Bowl rings, 2 as a coach and 1 as a defensive back with the Cowboys.

- Greg Roman, 49ers offensive coordinator – The John Carroll University alum followed Jim Harbaugh from Stanford to the 49ers and has become another popular name in NFL circles.

- Mike McCoy, Broncos offensive coordinator – With Peyton Manning at the helm, the Broncos ranked 4th in the league in total offense and 2nd in scoring.

Some way somehow, McCoy found a way to work around Tim Tebow in 2011 and the Broncos upset the Steelers in an AFC Wild card game. Jake Delhomme went to the Pro Bowl in 2005 when McCoy was Carolina’s quarterbacks coach and Kyle Orton had his 2 best seasons in Denver under McCoy’s tutelage.

- Marc Trestman, head coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL – Spent many years in the NFL as an assistant coach including as the Browns’ QBs coach in 1988 and offensive coordinator in ’89. He last worked for Miami as the assistant head coach/QBs coach in 2004.

He’s won 2 CFL titles in 5 seasons with the Alouettes.

- Bruce Arians, Colts offensive coordinator – A candidate for ‘Coach of the Year,’ Arians led the Colts to a 9-3 record as interim coach after head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia.

The former Browns offensive coordinator was fired by Butch Davis after the 2003 season and he was hired by the Steelers before being fired last off-season.

The Chicago Bears and Eagles have both requested to interview him.

- Lovie Smith, former Chicago Bears coach – For whatever reason Smith hasn’t really gotten much interest from the Browns. Fired after a 10-6 season Smith led the Bears to 3 NFC North titles, a Super Bowl appearance, and finished with a losing record 3 times in 9 seasons.

- Jay Gruden, Bengals offensive coordinator – Gruden, who is the younger brother of Jon Gruden, has garnered interest from both the Eagles and Cardinals.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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