Numerous sources are reporting that the Browns and Oregon coach Chip Kelly are getting close to agreeing to Kelly becoming the sixth coach in Cleveland since the Browns returned in 1999.
The Browns are not disclosing any of their interviews, but the Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner were reportedly interviewing Kelly in Arizona earlier Friday after the Ducks’ 35-17 win over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl.
The other two teams believed to be interested in Kelly were the Eagles and the Bills, but both have scheduled interviews with other candidates. The Associated Press reported that the Eagles are ‘heading in another direction’ and have been granted permission to interview Colts’ offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Seahawks’ defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and Broncos’ offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
The Bills are reportedly to meet with McCoy. Reports have said the Browns have already interviewed former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Syracuse coach Doug Marone and Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, who said he’s staying at Penn State.
Kelly, 49, said after the win in the Fiesta Bowl that he wanted the process to move ‘quickly’.
“It’s more of a fact finding mission, finding out if it fits or doesn’t fit,” Kelly said after the game. “I’ve been in one interview in my life for the National Football League and that was a year ago. I don’t really have any preconceived notions about it.
“I think that’s what this is all about for me,” he said. “It’s not going to affect us in terms of we’re not on the road (recruiting). I’ll get an opportunity if people do call see where they are. I want to get it wrapped up quickly and figure out where I’m going to be.”
Kelly interviewed with the Buccaneers after last season. He has compiled a 46-7 record at Oregon, including four straight trips to BCS games.
“I said I’ll always listen and that’s what I’ll do,” Kelly said. “I know that people want to talk to me because of our players. The success of our football program has always been about our guys.
“It’s an honor for someone to say they want to talk to me about maybe moving on to go coach in the National Football League, but it’s because of what these guys do. I’d listen and we’ll see.”
Oregon is believed to be under NCAA investigation, but Kelly said he has cooperated with them and wouldn’t be leaving Oregon for that reason.