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Possible Browns coaching candidate James Franklin officially hired by Penn State

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 11, 2014

James Franklin can officially be eliminated as a possibility to become the Browns’ next head coach.

Penn State announced this morning that it hired Franklin as its head coach after he spent the previous three seasons at Vanderbilt University. Last week, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports labeled Franklin and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn as college coaches in whom the Browns were very interested.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last week that the Browns and Washington Redskins requested interviews with Franklin, who led Vanderbilt to a bowl game in each of his three seasons with the program. According to Schefter’s report, Franklin also interviewed with the Houston Texans three weeks ago before they decided to hire former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien.

The Redskins announced Thursday that they hired former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden as their head coach.

The Browns will interview San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt today, according to reports. They have interviewed New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, according to reports.

The team is not commenting on interviews.

Like Franklin, McDaniels’ name can be crossed off the list. He removed himself from consideration for the job after he reached out to the Browns following his interview this past weekend and was told he wasn’t the front-runner, a league source said Wednesday night, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the search. NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported the primary reason for McDaniels staying with the Patriots is to create stability for his family. He and his wife have four young children.

The first interview request the Browns submitted went to Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. However, Gase said he would postpone all interview opportunities until the Broncos are done with the playoffs.

Gase and the Broncos will face Whisenhunt and the Chargers in a divisional playoff game Sunday night. NFL rules prohibit teams from offering jobs to coaches who are still in the postseason.

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