Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles became the second candidate to interview with the Browns for their head-coaching job and later remove himself from consideration, according to multiple reports.
Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1 first reported the news today.
Bowles interviewed with the Browns on Jan. 3. As a result, the Browns satisfied the Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate before hiring a head coach.
Bowles is still considered a candidate for the Minnesota Vikings’ job. Seven NFL teams fired a head coach recently, but the Browns and Vikings are the only ones who have yet to fill their vacancies.
New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who grew up in Canton, also withdrew from consideration last week after he reached out to the Browns following his Jan. 4 interview and was told he was not 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 the main reason McDaniels chose to stay with the Patriots is to create stability for his wife and four children.
During a conference call today with Patriots reporters, McDaniels said he'll “definitely” return to New England next season.
"I think all it means is I made a decision that this is the right time for me to be here," McDaniels said. "I’m really happy here, I’ve said that numerous times.
"There’s not really much else to it. It’s a process you go through sometimes, and you ultimately have to make choices based on what’s best for you and your family, and that’s what I tried to do."
The Browns are expected to wait for an interview with perceived front-runner Adam Gase before replacing Rob Chudzinski, who was fired Dec. 29 after going 4-12 in his first season on the job, the Denver Post reported this morning. The Browns won’t be able to interview Gase, the Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator, until he’s done with the postseason. The Broncos will host the New England Patriots at 3 p.m. Sunday in the AFC Championship game.
The Browns also have reportedly interviewed Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. They also interviewed former San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator and Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, but the Tennessee Titans hired him as their head coach Monday.
The Browns are not commenting on interviews or even confirming that they occurred.
Bowles, 50, coached defensive backs for the Browns from 2001-04 as a member of Butch Davis’ staff. He helped the Cardinals (10-6) finish with the NFL’s sixth-ranked defense (317.4 yards allowed per game) in his first season as their coordinator.
Bowles joined the Cardinals last year after splitting the 2012 season as the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. In addition to the Browns, he previously coached defensive backs for the Miami Dolphins (2008-11), Dallas Cowboys (2005-07) and the New York Jets (2000).
Bowles also played safety for eight seasons in the NFL (Washington Redskins 1986-90, 1992-93 and San Francisco 49ers 1991). He went undrafted in 1986 but appeared in 117 regular-season games, tallying 15 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries. He started for the Redskins when they won the Super Bowl during the 1987 season.