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Browns notes: Jimmy Haslam, Joe Banner interview former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 3, 2013

The Browns interviewed former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt on Wednesday for their head-coaching vacancy, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported early this morning.

Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner conducted the interview in Arizona.

They’re also expected to interview University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly on Friday in Arizona, according to Mortensen. Kelly’s team will play Kansas State tonight in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.

Kelly is the Browns’ top target, according to a report by Adam Caplan of In addition to the Browns, the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills also have interviews set up with Kelly, USA Today reported.

The Browns interviewed Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton on Tuesday in Arizona. They’re also expected to interview Syracuse University coach Doug Marrone and Penn State University coach Bill O’Brien.

The Browns will not comment on candidates or interviews during their search. They're looking for their sixth full-time head coach since 1999 after firing coach Pat Shurmur along with General Manager Tom Heckert on Monday.

Whisenhunt was fired Monday after compiling a record of 45-51 in six seasons with the Cardinals. The record includes a 4-2 mark in the playoffs. He guided the Cardinals to the Super Bowl following the 2008 season, but 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. He played tight end in the NFL for nine seasons (1985-93).

Whisenhunt also interviewed with the Bills, according to the Bills' website.

Name to watch

John Idzik is a hot candidate for a job in the Browns' front office, Jason La Canfora of CBS tweeted.

Since 2007, Idzik has been the Seattle Seahawks’ vice president of football administration, a role in which he has served as a salary-cap manager and chief contract negotiator. His resume also includes stints as the assistant general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the senior director of football operations of the Cardinals.

Tracking Big Red

The Kansas City Chiefs are on the verge of hiring ex-Eagles coach Andy Reid as their next head coach. The Eagles fired Reid on Monday.

Reid is expected to bring some of his old friends to his new job. He is close to Shurmur, Heckert and Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress. They all worked together during Reid’s 14-year tenure with the Eagles.

If Reid and some of his friends who are ex-Browns land in Kansas City, it could set up an interesting matchup next season. The Browns will visit the Chiefs in 2013.

Reid has told Chiefs owner Clark Hunt he would bring Heckert with him to Kansas City, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported today.

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