CLEVELAND — The search is under way for the Cleveland Browns next head coach. The Browns coaching job is more attractive than most think despite a 5-11 record in 2012.
The Browns are loaded with young talent, there is plenty of room on the salary cap and let’s be honest, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has deep pockets.
It is certainly clear, Haslam and Browns CEO Joe Banner will leave no stone unturned in finding the Browns next head coach.
“We’re going to explore all avenues, college coaches, coordinators, head coaches and the key is to get the right person,” said Haslam.
The right person in Haslam’s mind will have one thing: “Strong leadership,” Haslam said.
So what does that mean in terms of coaching candidates? The two front-runners appear to be Oregon head coach Chip Kelly and Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
“I would love for him to be here but I doubt if he’d come to the NFL and leave Alabama. I can’t see him leaving,” said Browns running back and former Alabama player Trent Richardson.
Other top candidates include Penn State’s Bill O’Brien who turned around Penn State in just one season, but there is a $9.2 million buyout in his contract.
Or, how about Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who served as interim coach this season while Chuck Pagano battled leukemia?
Then of course there is Sandusky native, Jon Gruden, who said before the draft last April he loves Brandon Weeden. Would he come back to northeast Ohio?
Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone is reportedly scheduled to interview next week for the Browns head coaching job as is Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
One thing the Browns players realize: “It doesn’t really matter to me what coach comes in. It’s just us has to adjust to him. It’s not about us adjusting to him because he is the head coach,” said wide receiver Travis Benjamin.
So for now, “I think we will all just wait and see what happens,” Browns kicker Phil Dawson said.
After all, that’s all we can do.
Haslam said he is in no rush to hire a coach.
He could hire somebody by the end of the week or in a month. The most important thing to him is to get the right guy.