Browns owner Randy Lerner's scheduled interview with Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was postponed Saturday because of a scheduling conflict, said a league source, who was unsure if the meeting had been rescheduled.
Unless it can be reset for Sunday, Lerner will have to wait until the Titans are eliminated from the playoffs, or during the week before the Super Bowl if Tennessee gets that far.
Schwartz, 42, has served as the Titans' coordinator for eight years. He started his NFL career with the Browns as an unpaid intern in 1993, moving up to college/pro scout under coach Bill Belichick. He was a defensive assistant with the Baltimore Ravens from 1996-98.
Last week Lerner interviewed ex-Jets coach Eric Mangini, Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker for the vacant coaching position and New England vice president for player personnel Scott Pioli and Cleveland player personnel director T.J. McCreight for the general manager job. Now Lerner may go into a waiting mode for Pioli to make a decision. Reportedly Pioli plans to interview in Kansas City by Monday at the latest.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Saturday that Mangini is emerging as Lerner's favorite to succeed Romeo Crennel. Citing team and league sources, Mortensen said Mangini had a ''compelling'' interview on Tuesday.
Mangini started his pro career as a ball boy and public relations intern with the Browns in 1994. He spent three seasons as Jets coach, going 23-25 with one playoff appearance.
Mortensen said if Mangini gets the job, the general manager position could go to George Kokinis, director of pro personnel for the Baltimore Ravens. Kokinis worked his way up from an intern in the Browns' operations department in 1991, eventually becoming a college scouting assistant under Belichick. Kokinis has held his present position with the Ravens for six years.
According to Mortensen's sources, Pioli's demands in his interview with Lerner were extreme and Lerner hopes to compromise. Mortensen said Pioli's top choices as coach are believed to be Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and McDaniels, whose interview Friday was deemed impressive by a Browns source.