The Browns have received permission to interview two respected defensive coordinators, Jim Schwartz of the Tennessee Titans and Steve Spagnuolo of the New York Giants.
The Tennessean reported that Schwartz had been given permission to talk to the Browns and Lions this weekend. According to the newspaper, those meetings were expected to take place in Nashville.
Schwartz, 42, started his NFL career as an unpaid intern with the Browns under coach Bill Belichick. He worked as a college and pro scout in Cleveland from 1993-95 and spent three more years as a defensive assistant with the Baltimore Ravens from 1996-98. Completing his eighth seasons as Titans defensive coordinator, Schwartz interviewed for coaching jobs in Washington, Miami and Atlanta last season.
Spagnuolo, 49, is being pursued by the Jets, Lions and Browns and all have received permission to talk to him, according to the New York Daily News. A league source confirmed the Browns have received permission and could interview him Thursday or Saturday.
The Giants defensive coordinator the past two seasons, Spagnuolo turned down the chance to coach the Washington Redskins in the last off-season and the Super Bowl-winning Giants rewarded him with a three-year contract extension at $2 million per year.
Whether the Browns go through with these interviews may depend on what happens today, when owner Randy Lerner was scheduled to interview New England vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli and just-fired Jets coach Eric Mangini. Both were thought to be taking place on the East Coast.
If Pioli is hired as general manager to replace Phil Savage, who was fired Saturday, Pioli would jump to the forefront of the coaching search. Starting his pro career as a pro personnel assistant with the Browns in 1992, he worked with both Mangini and Schwartz in Cleveland.
The Browns fired coach Romeo Crennel Monday after he and Savage went 24-40 in four seasons.