The Browns are interviewing former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak today for their head-coaching vacancy, Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez reported this morning, citing an unnamed source.
The Browns are not commenting on interviews as they search for their seventh full-time head coach since 1999 after firing Rob Chudzinski on Dec. 29. Chudzinski went 4-12 in his lone season on the job.
The Titans offered to let Munchak keep his job, even with a contract extension, if he agreed to fire at least six of his assistant coaches, the Tennessean reported. When he refused, the organization fired him Jan. 4.
Munchak went 22-26 in three seasons with the Titans, including a 7-9 record in 2013. The Titans haven't reached the playoffs since 2008.
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and defensive coordinator Jerry Gray were among the coaches Titans President and CEO Tommy Smith and General Manager Ruston Webster wanted Munchak to replace along with two of his best friends, offensive line coach Bruce Matthews and linebackers coach Chet Parlavecchio.
“I can’t fire someone when I don’t believe they should be fired,” Munchak told the Tennessean. “Firing someone is awful. Too many people were going to be affected. I didn’t do anything to look like I was a great, loyal guy who went above and beyond the call of duty by not firing coaches. I did what you should do and what I thought was right. For me to maintain a job and a lot of guys lose jobs on a plan I didn’t think was right, I couldn’t do that. … I’ll make tough decisions, but not if they’re not right.”
Since being fired, Munchak interviewed to become the Detroit Lions’ head-coach and the Houston Texans’ offensive line coach. He also interviewed at Penn State, his alma mater, before former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin got the job.
Munchak, 53, was a member of the Houston Oilers and Titans franchise for his entire NFL career, spanning 31 years as a player, an assistant coach and a head coach. From 1997-2010, he served as the team’s offensive line coach. From 1994-96, he was an offensive quality control assistant.
In 2001, Munchak, a former guard, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He earned nine Pro Bowl invitations during his playing career (1982-93).
Munchak joins a long list of candidates the Browns have pursued.
The Browns requested to interview Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, whom several national writers have labeled a favorite to land the job. However, Gase told the Browns and Minnesota Vikings he wouldn’t grant their interview requests until the Broncos were done with the postseason. The Broncos will face the New England Patriots Sunday in the AFC Championship game.
The Browns have interviewed San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, according to reports.
McDaniels removed himself from the running last week after he reached out to the Browns following his interview and was told he wasn’t the front-runner, a league source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the search. NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported McDaniels’ primary reason for staying with the Patriots is to create stability for his family. He and his wife have four young children.
Munchak, Whisenhunt and McDaniels are the only candidates known to interview with the Browns who have previous head-coaching experience in the NFL.