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Jim Tressel expresses interest in NFL job but says Browns haven’t talked to him

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 9, 2014

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Former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel made it clear he would like to work in the NFL, but he said the Browns haven’t talked to him about their head-coaching vacancy.

“I have not had discussions with Cleveland,” Tressel said today during a radio interview with 97.1 FM in Columbus. “It doesn’t mean that I don’t have any interest in the NFL or anything. I don’t want to paint that picture. But at this point in time, I have not.”

Last week, Fox Sports 1350, citing an unnamed source, reported that Tressel, who’s now the University of Akron’s executive vice president, would interview with the Browns for their head-coaching job within a couple of days. However, a source familiar with the Browns’ search told the Beacon Journal that the report about Tressel was “not true.” The source spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.

Although Tressel confirmed he’s not in the mix to lead the Browns, he sounded as if he’d love to coach again. He said he’s “deeply entrenched” in his job at UA, but he also couldn’t hide the excitement he’s experienced while recently watching college bowl games and the NFL playoffs.

“I think just being honest with yourself, you’d have to sit there saying, ‘Oh my gosh, wouldn't that be fun to be a part of that?’” he said.

Tressel, 61, suggested a career move could be on the horizon for him. He alluded to UA President Luis Proenza’s upcoming retirement in June, adding to speculation that he could be a potential successor, in addition to possible opportunities in the football realm.

“I think I’m at the moment in my life that interestingly enough there’s a lot of things swirling around,” Tressel said. “We have an administrative change here at the University of Akron, and there are changes in my former profession going on – head coaching and obviously then it trickles down to the staff. So I think it’s going to be an interesting time here in the next few weeks, next month, and I wouldn’t count anything out.”

ESPN contributor Adam Caplan reported Wednesday that at least one head-coaching candidate is considering bringing Tressel along as his offensive coordinator should he land a job. Caplan speculated Tressel could follow Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell if he becomes a head coach again. Caldwell and Tressel have a long-standing friendship.

Caldwell reportedly interviewed with the Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins, who hired ex-Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. When Caldwell coached the Indianapolis Colts, he hired Tressel as a replay consultant in 2011.

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