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Reports: Browns want to interview Seahawks DC Dan Quinn, Bills DC Mike Pettine a second time

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 19, 2014

The Browns have kept in contact with the representative of Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in hopes of interviewing him a second time for their head-coaching vacancy, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported this morning.

Meanwhile, the Browns plan to give Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine a second interview for their head-coaching job early this week, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported today. Pettine reportedly had his first interview with the Browns Jan. 16.

There’s a lot of mutual interest between the Browns and Quinn, according NFL Network. Quinn and the Seahawks will face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game at 6:30 p.m. today.

If Quinn became a head coach, his list of offensive coordinator candidates would include former Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak and former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, according to the report.

Rapoport also reported something similar to what others have written about Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, the perceived top target of the Browns partly because he received the team's first interview request. Rapoport said “it would take something perfect” for Gase to leave the Broncos, who’ll face the New England Patriots at 3 p.m. today in the AFC Championship Game.

Although the Browns expect to interview Gase, Rapoport reported Gase might pass on talking to the franchise altogether. When the Browns and Vikings requested interviews with Gase a few weeks ago, he told both teams he wouldn’t talk until the Broncos were finished with the playoffs. Gase, 35, is in his first season as a coordinator and might want to further build his profile with quarterback Peyton Manning by his side before moving on.

The Browns conducted the first known interview of their search when they met with Quinn Jan. 1, and he also met with the Vikings to discuss their head-coaching job three days later, according to reports. The Vikings have since hired former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer as their new head coach. The Browns, on the other hand, remain the only NFL team without a head coach after firing Rob Chudzinski Dec. 29.

Quinn, 43, is in his 11th season as an NFL assistant but his first as a coordinator in the league. Using a 4-3 hybrid scheme, the Seahawks had the league’s No. 1-ranked defense (273.6 yards allowed per game) during the 2013 regular season. Quinn took a break from the NFL to serve as the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida from 2011-12.

Because the Browns already interviewed Quinn and because he interviewed with another team as well, NFL rules would allow the Browns to conduct a second interview with him even if the Seahawks win today and advance to the Feb. 2 Super Bowl. The interview would need to take place no later than Jan. 26, and the Seahawks would need to grant permission for it to happen.

Here is the rule: “In any year in which there is at least a two-week break between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, an assistant coach who (i) has previously interviewed for another club's head coaching job and (ii) whose current employer-club is participating in the Super Bowl may have a second interview with a club with which he has previously interviewed for an open head coach position provided that (i) the current employer-club elects to grant permission for a second interview, and (ii) the interview will take place at a time and location that is acceptable for the current employer-club, but no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.”

NFL rules prohibit teams from striking deals with assistant coaches who are still in the playoffs. In other words, Quinn, Gase or any other candidate who might receive an offer to coach the Browns would need to be done with the postseason before agreeing to a contract.

The Bills are not in the playoffs, so Pettine would be free to accept an offer if one was presented to him. Pettine, 47, has been an NFL defensive coordinator for five seasons (one with the Bills and four with the New York Jets). His defense has finished ranked in the top 10 each time. Pettine runs a 3-4 hybrid defense.

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