New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels confirmed he interviewed with the Browns for their head-coaching vacancy this past weekend.
“We met and that’s about all there is at this point,” McDaniels said today during a conference call with reporters who cover the Patriots. “Nothing, nothing further.”
McDaniels, 37, didn’t want to elaborate on his meeting with the Browns. He cited his desire to focus on the Patriots’ upcoming playoff game Saturday night against the Indianapolis Colts.
“I appreciate the question, and I understand it,” said McDaniels, a Canton native. “I know that’s something that comes up each time this year for other coaches. The opportunities are certainly flattering if they come up. That being said, I am going to try to keep my focus on the Colts and our preparation this week. Like I’ve said in the past, I’m fortunate to have the job I have, and I love being here. I love doing what I’m doing. Each opportunity that comes along is a little different and I’m going to leave it at that and continue to put my effort and attention into the Colts this week.”
NFL rules prohibit teams from offering jobs to assistant coaches in the playoffs until their teams are finished with the postseason. The two sides are not allowed to strike any agreements until then.
McDaniels is one of three candidates known to have interviewed with the Browns since they fired coach Rob Chudzinski Dec. 29 after just one season on the job. Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner also interviewed Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, 43, and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, 50, last week, according to several national reports.
The Browns requested permission to interview Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, 35. But he told reporters he would postpone all interview opportunities until the Broncos are done with the postseason. They’ll face the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
Vanderbilt University’s James Franklin, 41, and Auburn University’s Gus Malzahn, 48, are on the Browns’ radar, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported. Franklin is finished with his season. He led Vanderbilt to a 41-24 win over the University of Houston on Saturday in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Malzahn and Southeastern Conference champion Auburn will face Florida State in the BCS Championship Game tonight.
A league source, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation, confirmed today that the Browns won’t interview longtime University of Oklahoma coach and Youngstown native Bob Stoops for their head-coaching vacancy.
This past weekend, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport labeled Stoops a leading candidate for the job and stated he was expected to interview with the Browns this week. On Thursday, former NFL personnel man Tony Softli wrote on Twitter that Stoops, “may have the inside track on the Cleveland Browns opening.”
Stoops, 53, didn’t silence the rumors last week after he led Oklahoma to a 45-31 victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Asked by Sooners reporters about the rumblings he could become the next coach of the Browns, Stoops said, “You never know.”