Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
You can rule out any chance of Penn State's Bill O'Brien landing the Cleveland Browns' head coaching job. Earlier today, Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer reported that the Browns had interviewed O'Brien earlier this week. It's hard to believe that a secret can be kept in this day and age, but that's exactly what happened.
Reports say that O'Brien was hesitant about leaving Penn State when he interviewed, but that the Browns were "incredibly impressed" with him. O'Brien also met with the Eagles before stating the following:
"I'm not a one-and-done guy," said O'Brien. "I made a commitment to these players at Penn State and that's what I am going to do. I'm not gonna cut and run after one year, that's for sure."
In other words, he used NFL teams as more leverage to be endeared by Penn State.
The Browns have already interviewed O'Brien, Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, and Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone. It sounds like Whisenhunt could have an offer on the table in Buffalo, and I doubt he's a serious candidate for the gig in Cleveland.
All signs are pointing to the fact that Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner are putting their chips all-in for Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. The Browns are scheduled to meet with Kelly on Friday, but the Eagles will be hot in their pursuit of him as well.
In another interesting twist, the Browns have reportedly asked permission to interview for their vacant general manager position:
The Browns have asked the Niners for permission to interview Tom Gamble for their GM post. Gamble being pursued by NYJ, Jax and SD also.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 4, 2013
The report is interesting because Haslam and Banner said they would hire a head coach first, and then bring in a general manager. Could this mean that the Browns are confident that they will lure Kelly, and because of that, they are already queuing up GM interviews? If the Browns were able to get Gamble, it would be a major score. He is currently the director of player personnel for the San Francisco 49ers. With that said, I'm not sure I see Gamble coming to Cleveland since it wouldn't seem like he'd have a lot of power compared to the head coach.