What a difference two days and a lunch running into dinner makes.
The Browns’ contingency has left Arizona where they interviewed Chip Kelly on Friday among many others this week. According to various reports, including ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, they are heading back to Cleveland to regroup and continue the coaching search with Kelly’s name crossed off the list.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and execs are headed back to Browns. Sources say they will reboot coach search without Chip Kelly in the fold.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 6, 2013
This too, from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, seems to hammer it home.
So Cleveland is restarting its HC search while Chip Kelly must decide whether to go to Philadelphia or remain at Oregon.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 6, 2013
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, who originally reported that the Browns and Kelly were close to an agreement, says that super-booster Phil Knight is pulling Kelly back to Oregon.
Push coming from #Oregon booster Phil Knight, I hear. 1 factor pulling Chip Kelly back to Oregon. Eagles, Browns regrouping. No decisions
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 6, 2013
So, where do the Browns go from here? Bill O’Brien and Doug Marrone, who the Browns interviewed as well, are now off the board in addition to Kelly. That leaves former Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt and Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton as the two candidates the Browns have interviewed that are still in play.
@mortreport said #Browns owner jimmy Haslam impressed with fired Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt. Been to a Super Bowl.
— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) January 6, 2013
It’s certainly possible that the Browns open the search back up again with several other viable candidates still out there.
[Related: NFL Rumor: Chip Kelly could stay at Oregon]