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Browns bring former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt to Northeast Ohio for second interview

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 10, 2013

The Browns are interviewing former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt for their head-coaching vacancy today in the Cleveland area, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.

The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the Browns are not commenting on interviews or candidates until the search is complete.

The Browns also interviewed Whisenhunt last Wednesday in Arizona. Whisenhunt’s second interview with owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner indicates he is a strong possibility to become the Browns’ 14th full-time head coach and their sixth since 1999.

Whisenhunt was fired Dec. 31, the same day Haslam and Banner ousted coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert after the Browns finished 2012 with a record of 5-11. The Cardinals went 5-11 in 2012 despite starting 4-0.

In six seasons with the Cardinals, Whisenhunt compiled a record of 45-51, including 4-2 in the playoffs. He guided the Cardinals to the Super Bowl following the 2008 season, when they lost 27-23 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Whisenhunt, 50, was a special-teams coach for the Browns during their expansion season in 1999. He later served as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator from 2004-06 before becoming the Cardinals’ head coach in 2007.

Haslam bought a minority stake in the Steelers in 2008, so he is familiar with people who know Whisenhunt well from his days in Pittsburgh.

Whisenhunt played tight end in the NFL for nine seasons (1985-93). He played for the Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins and New York Jets.

The Browns interviewed Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman on Tuesday, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer on Wednesday and are expected to eventually meet with Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Last week, they interviewed University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly, Penn State University coach Bill O’Brien, former Syracuse University coach Doug Marrone, Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Kelly and O’Brien chose to remain in the college ranks, and the Buffalo Bills hired Marrone.

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