By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer
The Browns have given defensive coordinator Ray Horton permission to interview for any available coaching positions, a league source confirmed Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.
ESPN first reported the news that the Browns are allowing Horton to conduct interviews for any job, not just a head-coaching vacancy. Horton reportedly interviewed for the Minnesota Vikings’ head-coaching position on Jan. 7.
In the wake of coach Rob Chudzinski being fired Dec. 29, Horton wasn’t expected to return to the Browns after spending one season with the team. The Browns permitting Horton to interview for any job indicates he definitely won’t be back.
Under Horton’s guidance, the Browns switched from a 4-3 system to a 3-4 scheme. They finished the 2013 regular season with the NFL’s ninth-ranked defense (332.4 yards allowed per game).
After the Browns fired Chudzinski, CEO Joe Banner said the next head coach would have the power to hire his staff and decide whether he wants to retain any of Chudzinski’s assistants.
What about Turner?
After spending the 2013 season with the Browns, offensive coordinator Norv Turner has surfaced as a potential candidate for the same job with the Baltimore Ravens, the Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday.
The Ravens need to hire an offensive coordinator to replace Jim Caldwell, who became the coach of the Detroit Lions on Tuesday. Like Horton, Turner is not expected to return to the Browns. In Turner’s lone year with the Browns, the offense ranked 18th in the NFL (338.9 yards per game).
Browns outside linebackers coach Brian Baker has taken the same job with the Washington Redskins, NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported Tuesday. Baker was with the Browns for one season.
Jim Tressel watch
What might Caldwell taking control of the Lions mean for former Ohio State University coach Jim Tressel, who’s now the University of Akron’s executive vice president?
ESPN’s Adam Caplan speculated last week that Tressel could become an assistant on Caldwell’s staff if the latter became a head coach again. Caldwell and Tressel have a long-standing relationship, and when Caldwell was the coach of the Indianapolis Colts, he hired Tressel as a replay consultant in 2011.
Last week in a radio interview with 97.1 FM in Columbus, Tressel conceded the Browns never contacted him about an interview. But he hinted another NFL opportunity could be on the horizon.
“I think it’s going to be an interesting time here in the next few weeks, next month, and I wouldn’t count anything out,” Tressel said. Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.