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Browns notes: Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman interviewing today in Berea

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 8, 2013

The Browns are interviewing Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman today at their headquarters in Berea, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.

The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the Browns are not commenting on candidates or interviews until the search for their 14th full-time head coach and sixth since 1999 is complete. Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner fired coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert on Dec. 31 after the Browns finished 2012 with a record of 5-11, their 12th losing season of the expansion era.

Trestman has been coaching in the Canadian Football League since 2008, and he guided the Alouettes to back-to-back Grey Cup championships in 2009 and 2010. He interviewed with the Chicago Bears on Monday, the source said.

Trestman, 56, also has served as an assistant coach for several NFL teams, including the Browns. He came to Cleveland in 1988 as a quarterbacks coach and became their offensive coordinator in 1989, when they advanced to the AFC Championship game.

In Cleveland, Trestman reunited with quarterback Bernie Kosar. Trestman was the University of Miami’s quarterbacks coach in 1983, when Kosar and the Hurricanes won a national championship.

Trestman also was an offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers (1995-96), Arizona Cardinals (1998-2000) and Oakland Raiders (2002-03) before entering the CFL. The Raiders went to the Super Bowl during the 2002 season, when quarterback Rich Gannon thrived in Trestman’s West Coast system.

Trestman is also a noted quarterbacks consultant. He worked with Brandon Weeden before the Browns drafted him 22nd overall in 2012.

“I thought it was my most important few days leading up to the draft,” Weeden said in a testimonial on Trestman’s website. “Getting to get up on the board and talk through West Coast systems and then be able to go out on the field and put some of those things to use. Marc is an extremely knowledgeable football mind and with his obvious success everywhere he has been proves that he knows how to develop and teach quarterbacks.”

The Browns are also expected to interview Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians this week. Like Trestman, Arians is a former offensive coordinator of the Browns (2001-03).

Last week, the Browns reportedly interviewed University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly, Penn State University coach Bill O’Brien, former Syracuse University coach Doug Marrone, former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt and Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton. The Browns reportedly came close to reaching a deal with Kelly, but he ultimately chose to stay at Oregon. O’Brien also decided to stay in the college ranks, and the Buffalo Bills hired Marrone.

Return to NFL?

During a news conference today, University of Alabama coach Nick Saban once again attempted to put to rest rumors and speculation that he’ll return to the NFL.

Many still wonder whether Saban, who went 15-17 while coaching the Miami Dolphins from 2005-06, could be lured to the Browns if Haslam offered him all the power and money he could want. Many also wonder if Saban, a Kent State University graduate, is looking for a new challenge after winning his fourth national championship Monday night when Alabama rolled to a 42-14 victory over Notre Dame.

So will Saban stay at Alabama or leap back into the league?

“Well, you know, how many times do you think I've been asked this question?” Saban said during the news conference in Miami Gardens, Fla. “ How many times do you think I've been asked to put it to rest? And I've put it to rest, and you continue to ask it. So I'm going to say it today, that you know, I think somewhere along the line you've got to choose. You learn a lot from the experiences of what you've done in the past. I came to the Miami Dolphins, what, eight years ago for the best owner, the best person that I've ever had the opportunity to work for. And in the two years that I was here, had a very, very difficult time thinking that I could impact the organization in the way that I wanted to or the way that I was able to in college, and it was very difficult for me because there's a lot of parity in the NFL. There's a lot of rules in the NFL.

“And people say you can draft the players that you want to draft. You can draft a player that's there when you pick. It might not be the player you need. It might not be the player you want. You've got salary-cap issues. We had them here. You've got to have a quarterback. We had a chance to get one here, sort of messed it up.

“So I didn't feel like I could impact the team the same way that I can as a college coach in terms of affecting people's lives personally, helping them develop careers by graduating from school, off the field, by helping develop them as football players. And there's a lot of self gratification in all that, all right?

“So I kind of learned through that experience that maybe this is where I belong, and I'm really happy and at peace with all that. So no matter how many times I say that, y'all don't believe it, so I don't even know why I keep talking about it.”

Personnel rumblings

The Browns are keeping an eye on New York Jets assistant general manager Scott Cohen as they search for a personnel chief, Jason La Canfora of CBS reported today.

Before joining the Jets in 2008, Cohen worked with Banner for seven seasons while serving as the director of pro personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles. He was previously a scout for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Redskins and has 21 years of NFL experience on his resume.

Extra points

The Browns have $47 million in cap room in 2013, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wrote in his recent Monday Morning Quarterback column. … King and Don Banks of Sports Illustrated named Browns strong safety T.J. Ward to their All-Pro teams.

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