The Browns are interviewing University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly for their head-coaching vacancy this afternoon in Arizona, Marc Sessler of NFL.com reported.
Kelly is also scheduled to interview with the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills, according to USA Today.
The Browns will not comment on candidates or interviews during their search to replace Pat Shurmur, whom they fired Monday. Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner are conducting the interviews.
After Kelly’s team defeated Kansas State 35-17 Thursday night in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., he said he’s eager to get through the interview process and make a decision.
“I want to get it wrapped up quickly and figure out where I’m gonna be,” Kelly said during a news conference.
Banner spent time with Kelly’s agent, David Dunn, on Thursday, Adam Caplan of TheSidelineView.com reported. During Banner’s 12-year reign as president of the Eagles, he and Dunn worked on several deals together.
Kelly, who turned down a chance to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year, was asked what could draw him to the NFL. He has never coached in the league.
“I don’t really know,” said Kelly, whose record at Oregon improved to 46-7. “That’s part of what this whole thing is. It’s more of a fact-finding mission and finding out if it fits or doesn’t fit. I don’t really have that answer. I’ve been in one in interview in my life for the National Football League, and that was a year ago. So I don’t really have any preconceived notions about it, and I think that’s what this deal’s all about for me.
“It’s an honor that someone would say that they want to talk to me about maybe moving on to go coach in the National Football League. But it’s because of what [my players] do. So I’ll listen, and we’ll see.”
Some believe potential NCAA sanctions stemming from a recruiting scandal will prompt Kelly, 49, to enter the NFL. He was asked how much the possible sanctions would affect his decision.
“We've cooperated fully with them,” said Kelly, who's known for his high-powered spread offense. “If they want to talk to us again, we'll continue to cooperate fully. I feel confident in the situation.”
The Browns also have reportedly interviewed Syracuse University coach Doug Marrone, former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton and Penn State University coach Bill O’Brien. On Thursday night, O’Brien withdrew from the running by telling Penn State he would stay put.
Haslam and Banner said Monday they would hire a head coach first and then a personnel man who complements him. The Browns requested permission from the San Francisco 49ers to interview Tom Gamble, their director of player personnel, Albert Breer of NFL Network reported Thursday. Gamble is also being pursued by the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers, according to the report.