Browns interviewed Greg Schiano, but not likely among two finalists flying to Cleveland

Al Messerschmidt

Just when you thought it couldn't get any stranger.

The Cleveland Browns met with whom at the time was a yet to be disclosed candidate for the team's head coaching vacancy on Wednesday morning. It wasn't until much later in the evening that the mystery man was revealed to be former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano, a surprising name for many.

FootballScoop broke the story on Twitter.

Before the shock even had time to wear off, around 10 minutes after the news about Schiano's interview broke, several local Browns beat writers reported that he would not in fact be hired as the team's next head coach.

One name has remained consistently at the top over the past few days, however. That's Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. There was speculation Tuesday night that Pettine could have been offered the job during an interview that night, but it didn't come to fruition.

Nevertheless, he appears to remain the leading favorite. According to a report by Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen, NFL Insiders for ESPN, Pettine will be flown to Cleveland on Thursday for what will be his third interview with the Browns. He's among the final two.

The Cleveland Browns' head-coaching search is down to two finalists, and the team's brass is expected to meet with each Thursday before selecting its hire, league sources told ESPN.

League sources believe Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has emerged as the favorite, though Cleveland has not made any decision yet. Pettine will be one of two candidates to fly to Cleveland to interview with the Browns again on Thursday.

The other candidate being flown out was not confirmed in the report, but it was mentioned that the Browns also spoke with Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. He wasn't formally interviewed.

The wheels in the search keep on turning.

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