"Hold on a second," says Chip Kelly to the Browns. He's going to meet with Buffalo and Philadelphia before making a decision. - USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Browns reportedly met with Oregon head coach Chip Kelly at 2:00 PM EST on Friday. Speculation ensued throughout the day that the Browns and Kelly were close to a deal after a report by NFL.com. After waiting and waiting, Chris Mortensen from ESPN finally had an update on the situation:
That means the Browns' meeting with Kelly wrapped up around 9:00 PM EST. Seven hours is a pretty long time, and I would imagine that someone like Ken Whisenhunt didn't get that same type of treatment from Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner.
While it's encouraging that the Browns are still "favored" to get Kelly, hearing that he'll be meeting with the Bills tonight and the Eagles on Saturday means that fans will have to remain on the edge of their seats for another day or two. He could also be trying to leverage a better deal from the Browns.
We'll have to sweat this one out, but it will definitely be very deflating if we felt like this was "our guy," only to see another team swoop in and get him. It would be reminiscent of losing out on the RG III sweepstakes. Let's try to stay positive, though, and hope for the best.
UPDATE (11:34 PM): Mortensen's official report is out now on ESPN. He expands on a few more details, including the fact that Kelly plans to talk with the Browns again Saturday night:
Kelly interviewed for five hours with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner before they took a break and had a two-hour dinner. The sides agreed to talk again Saturday night after Kelly's interviews with the Bills later Friday night and the Eagles on Saturday.
While sources say Kelly has positioned himself as the favorite to become the next Browns coach, there is no contractual agreement in place. However, the two sides see no significant obstacles that would prevent a contract being completed if they decide to move forward Saturday night, the sources added.
Kelly informed Haslam and Banner that he wanted to "go through the process" by meeting with the Bills and Eagles, something he regretted last hiring season when he only interviewed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to a source close to the Oregon coach.
Haslam and Banner did not object to Kelly's wishes to meet with those teams.
So there it is -- Saturday night, we may know whether Kelly will be the Browns' next head coach or not.