Updated at 2:55 p.m.
The Browns could finally hire a head coach on the 25th day of their search.
The team is prepared to offer its head-coaching job to Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine today, 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 during their search.
Pettine is at the Browns' training facility today for a third interview. The two sides still need to work out a deal before anything becomes official. Pettine arrived at the Browns' training facility at about 2:15 p.m. today, Fox 8 reported.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen, citing multiple unnamed league sources, reported this morning that the Browns are expected to make Pettine an offer.
The Browns narrowed their list of head-coaching candidates down to two finalists, including Pettine, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal. The identity of the second finalist has yet to be revealed, but Pettine has been labeled the favorite.
On Wednesday night, Schefter and Mortensen reported Pettine would be one of two finalists to fly to Cleveland and interview with the Browns again today.
BleacherReport.com’s Will Burge, citing sources, wrote this morning on Twitter that the Browns have chosen Pettine as their next head coach. Burge reported Pettine’s meeting with the Browns scheduled for this afternoon is a contract negotiation rather than an interview.
In response to Burge’s report, a Browns spokesman said this morning, “the team has not made a decision and may or may not make that determination today.”
So the Browns finally appear to be on the verge of replacing coach Rob Chudzinski, who was fired Dec. 29 following a 4-12 season, his first on the job.
At least 10 known candidates have interviewed with the Browns since then, though three withdrew from consideration and another three took jobs elsewhere.
On Tuesday morning, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who’ll coach against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, became the third candidate to remove his name from the running. The Browns expected to interview him after the Super Bowl until he told them he wasn’t interested.
New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles withdrew from consideration after interviewing with owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner earlier this month. McDaniels, who grew up in Canton, reversed course following the Patriots’ loss to the Broncos Sunday in the AFC Championship Game and had more discussions with the Browns this week, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal. But according to multiple reports, McDaniels is not a viable candidate.
Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia and ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano all reportedly met with the Browns about the job. A league source told the Beacon Journal Wednesday that Schiano would not be hired as the Browns' next head coach.
Former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak also interviewed for the job, but the Pittsburgh Steelers named him their offensive line coach today. Two other candidates took jobs with different teams after interviewing with the Browns: Former San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt became the Titans’ new head coach, and ex-Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo became the New York Giants’ offensive coordinator.