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Cleveland Browns

McDaniels among 3 to interview Friday

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 2, 2009

Browns owner Randy Lerner's whirlwind interview schedule included Friday sessions with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and two members of the team's 2008 staff, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and player personnel director T.J. McCreight, a league source said.

All of those meetings were expected to be held in the New York area, where Lerner has conducted this week's search.

Lerner is scheduled to talk to Tennessee Titants defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz Saturday, according to the source.

McDaniels, Tucker and Schwartz are candidates to replace coach Romeo Crennel, who was fired Monday, while McCreight seeks the job of general manager to succeed his boss Phil Savage, who was fired Saturday.

McDaniels, a Canton native, completed his third season as Patriots' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and his eighth in New England. He was considered instrumental in the development of quarterback Matt Cassel after star Tom Brady suffered a major knee injury.

Tucker, a product of Cleveland Heights High School and Michigan State, has spent four years with the Browns, the last as defensive coordinator after coaching defensive backs. He worked from 2001-04 at Ohio State. His interview will put the Browns in compliance with the league's ''Rooney Rule,'' which requires consideration of at least one African-American candidate during a coaching search. But Tucker, who turns 37 Sunday, is thought to be an up-and-coming talent even as the Browns defense struggled in 2008 and finished with a ranking of 26th in the league.

McCreight spent four years with the Browns, assisting in pro scouting, free agency, draft preparation and contract negotiation. He played tight end for former Browns coach Sam Rutigliano at Liberty University and worked for the Baltimore Ravens from 1997-2004 in scouting and personnel.

The source said Lerner has nothing planned yet with former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who was fired Tuesday in a move that shocked the NFL. Shanahan may be taking a family vacation.

Reportedly the Browns still covet New England vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli, who interviewed Wednesday, for the team's top football position.

Falcons president Rich McKay postponed his interview with Lerner until after Atlanta's playoff game Saturday at Arizona. League spokesman Greg Aiello said Lerner can talk to McKay before the Falcons are eliminated from the playoffs as long as the team consents. Owner Arthur Blank has already given his permission.

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