Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) - The Cleveland Browns took a big step towards hiring their next head coach Thursday.
Former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is being interviewed for a second time by the Browns 92.3 The Fan has confirmed. The team hopes to wrap up their coaching search by the end of the weekend according to a league source.
Whisenthunt appears to be the first coaching candidate to receive a second interview with the team which is in search of it’s 6th head coach since 1999.
Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer was first to report that Whisenthunt was in Cleveland to meet with team officials.
The Cardinals improved during the regular season in each of his first 3 years as coach – from 5-11 to 8-8 in year 1, 9-7 in year 2 and 10-6 in year 3. Arizona also rode the momentum of veteran quarterback Kurt Warner to the Super Bowl, which they lost to his former team – the Pittsburgh Steelers – in his second season.
Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner also interviewed Whisenhunt, who was fired by the Cardinals following a 5-11 season, last Wednesday in Arizona.
The Browns asked for and received permission to speak with Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. It is unclear when or if that interview will take place. Arians went 9-3 as an interim coach this past season while head coach Chuck Pagano battled leukemia.
Haslam and Banner have also interviewed: former Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, former Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman and Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
O’Brien chose to remain at Penn State after receiving a reported $1.3 million per year raise, Marrone was hired by the Buffalo Bills Sunday morning and Kelly chose to return to Eugene after extensive interviews with both the Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.