Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels confirmed Monday that he interviewed with the Browns on Saturday. He wouldn’t say anything else about the possibility of coaching the team he grew up cheering.
“We met and that’s about all there is at this point,” McDaniels, a Canton native, said on a conference call with Patriots writers. “Nothing, nothing further. I appreciate the question, and I understand it. I know that’s something that comes up each time this year for other coaches. The opportunities are certainly flattering if they come up.
“That being said, I am going to try to keep my focus on the Colts and our preparation this week. Like I’ve said in the past, I’m fortunate to have the job I have, and I love being here. I love doing what I’m doing. Each opportunity that comes along is a little different, and I’m going to leave it at that and continue to put my effort and attention into the Colts this week.”
The Patriots host the Colts on Saturday in the divisional round of the playoffs. NFL rules prohibit a coach from discussing a contract or accepting a job until his team is done with the playoffs.
McDaniels, 37, is considered a front-runner for the Cleveland vacancy created when Rob Chudzinski was fired Dec. 29 after going 4-12 in his lone season. McDaniels is a favorite of Browns general manager Michael Lombardi, but doesn’t have the same history with owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner. He went 11-17 in less than two years as coach of the Broncos before being fired in 2010.
Plenty of other names have been mentioned in connection with the Browns’ opening, including Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, who coached Monday night in the national championship game against Florida State. Vanderbilt’s James Franklin has also drawn interest.
One college coach the Browns aren’t interested in is Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops. A league source close to the search said Monday the Browns won’t interview him, contradicting reports from last week.
The Browns aren’t commenting on the search, but in addition to McDaniels they’ve interviewed Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. They requested permission to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, but he declined while Denver remains active in the postseason.
“I told both teams that were interested in me that I appreciated it and I was going to wait until after our season had concluded,” Gase told reporters. “They were great about it. They said they appreciated me being up front and honest about it, and I thought that was the best decision for what we are trying to accomplish with our team.”
The Broncos host San Diego on Sunday.
- Foxsports’ Alex Marvez reported the Buccaneers and new coach Lovie Smith will hire Joe Cullen as defensive line coach. Cullen spent 2013 with the Browns.
- San Francisco kicker Phil Dawson, who spent the previous 14 seasons with the Browns, had a message for his old fans after he kicked the winning field goal Sunday vs. the Packers:
Hey CLE, just want to thank y'all for your continued love. Much respect & appreciation for y'all.
— Phil Dawson (@phil_dawson_4) January 6, 2014