By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner told the St. Paul Pioneer Press he’s close to reaching a deal that would make his departure from the Browns official and give him the same position with the Minnesota Vikings under new coach Mike Zimmer.
“I think there’s a good chance it’s going to happen,” Turner told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press on Thursday during a phone interview. “We’re kind of waiting right now.
“Mike [Zimmer] just got the job [Wednesday]. He just finalized the contract. So I think it will be resolved in the next day or two. … We’ve had great conversations. I think a lot of Mike, so yeah, we’re working towards it. ... There’s a process to go through, so we’re just going through it.”
Turner, 61, spent the 2013 season with the Browns, but he wasn’t expected to return after owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner fired coach Rob Chudzinski on Dec. 29. The Browns, who went 4-12, have yet to hire Chudzinski’s replacement.
Turner’s son, Scott, is expected to follow him to the Vikings and become quarterbacks coach, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reported Thursday. Scott Turner, 31, spent this past season serving as the Browns’ wide receivers coach.
Forced to use three quarterbacks because of injuries and poor performance, the Browns finished their lone season under Norv Turner’s guidance with the NFL’s 18th-ranked offense (338.9). They ranked 11th in passing (252.5 yards per game), 27th in rushing (86.4 yards per game) and 27th in scoring (19.2 points per game).
The biggest news Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden revealed Thursday during an interview with the Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Radio is that he and his wife, Melanie, are expecting their first child in July.
But before Weeden got to the good news, he revealed his feelings about how the Browns’ front office viewed him heading into last season, when he was benched after an injury and later because of poor performance. He alluded to the criticism he received from Browns General Manager Mike Lombardi when Lombardi worked as an analyst for NFL Network.
“They were pretty open about it whenever those guys were doing what they were doing the year before that they weren’t fans of me coming out of the draft,” said Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in 2012. “So I knew where I stood. I’m not stupid. I understood how they felt. But at the same time I’m a competitor. I wanted to go out and prove those guys wrong and play well, and unfortunately this season was just kind of an up-and-down year that never had any steadiness to it, and I didn’t get a chance to play as much as I would’ve liked.”
Weeden obviously isn’t expected to be back with the Browns next season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced they’ve hired tight ends coach Jon Embree, who spent the 2013 season with the Browns. … Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner are finalists for the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission’s professional athlete of the year award. The winner will be unveiled Jan. 23 at Greater Cleveland Sports Awards.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com.