As of yesterday, Chip Kelly decided that it would be in his best interest to stay in Eugene, Oregon and coach his mighty Ducks next season. Kelly was wined and dined by two organizations, the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles, but ultimately it was for naught as Kelly shunned both organizations.
Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner, as well as Jeffrey Lurie of the Eagles, were not enthused by Kelly’s arrogance and lack of decisiveness when it came to the options at hand. Chip Kelly was by far the most sought after coach in the college ranks, and may have been the hottest coaching commodity in the entire carousel. While Kelly was certainly entertaining the idea of joining the NFL, it was Oregon booster Phil Knight, and his billions upon billions of dollars, that ultimately lured Kelly back to Oregon.
Kelly won’t coach in the NFL this season, nor probably anytime soon. He was given his shot and both times, he shied away from the pressure. Kelly is no longer in the question. The question now is: where do the Browns turn?
While in Arizona, Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner interviewed former Cardinals head coach Ken Wisenhunt as well as Cardinals DC Ray Horton. They had previously interviewed Bills hire Doug Marrone, formerly of Syracuse University, and Penn State Nittany Lions head man, Bill O’Brien. Nick Saban, a prime target of the Browns search and maybe number one on their list, has told the Browns that he will not be leaving Alabama this season.
The Browns have interviewed 5 candidates (Saban was not formally interviewed), none of whom will be contenders for the Cleveland Browns head coaching job. While it makes Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner look unorganized, in actuality, a more comprehensive and thorough search is exactly what the Browns need. Haslam and Banner traveled back to Cleveland yesterday with a clear head and a new list of coaches.
It was clear that the Browns wanted Kelly. They put their necks out for him, and were almost beheaded. If Kelly had signed with the Eagles, Browns fans would have gone rabid, as if haven’t been delusionally freaked out already. Thankfully, Kelly saved Haslam and Banner from misery and allowed them to move forward.
The Browns, today, met with Marc Trestman currently of the Canadian Football League, and are hoping to schedule an interview with Bruce Arians, as soon as he is well enough to be released from the hospital.
Trestman is a candidate that is not very well known throughout the current NFL world. A bit of a journeyman, Trestman has finally found a home with the Montreal Alouettes, winning two Grey Cup titles in Canada. By far his longest stint in terms of a coaching job, Trestman has spent the last 4 years in Canada, and it would be interesting to see if he would bolt for the NFL. Trestman has received interest from other NFL teams, including the Chicago Bears.
As for Arians, the draw comes from his success with the Indianapolis Colts this season. With Chuck Pagano fighitng leukemia, and beating it!, Arians lead the Colts to a 9-3 record, and set an NFL record for the most wins by an interim head coach. Arians has had many NFL coaching gigs, including a stint with the Browns and more recently with the Steelers as their offensive coordinator. Arians is an incredibly intriguing candidate, as he has two Super Bowl rings with the Steelers as a part of their staff. It’s clear he has learned from some of the best, and showed that he can lead an embattled group of men to success at the NFL level. The concern is, for whatever reason, that Arians is 60 years old. The Browns are supposedly looking for a younger and up and coming coach, like Kelly, who could be around for a while. While a youthful coach would be a better fit, the Browns are certainly running out of options.
It’s honestly doubtful that the Browns hire Trestman, as his pedigree and CFL background don’t really mix all that well with the Browns plans. Bruce Arians is a real possibility and would be a great hire for the Browns. But say Haslam and Banner don’t feel as if Arians would be a proper hire, where on earth do the Browns go from there?
Honestly, if they don’t hire Arians, the situation could be dire. The Browns, for whatever reason, don’t seem to be interested in Lovie Smith. There don’t seem to be all that many other viable candidates. Mike McCoy could be in play, Greg Roman could be in play, and even, dare I say it, Jim Tressel could be in play. All of these guys have one thing in common, they are all the last options that Haslam and Banner wanted.
When Jimmy and Joe had their press conference after Pat Shurmur and Tom Heckert were fired, they seemed to dismiss the idea that they wouldn’t get their first option. The question was asked, and Jimmy blew it off with a laughable ease. They had too much money, too much power, and too much arrogance to entertain the idea that maybe, just maybe, things wouldn’t go their way.
Sure enough, Kelly didn’t want an NFL job, yet again, and the Browns were screwed out of their first option. They brought out all of the stops for Kelly and sure enough, he left the Browns without a head coach.
Well, regardless of the situation, Browns fans on social media, and elsewhere, need to give it a rest. If you’re not going to be a Browns fan because of a head coach, you are more than welcome to find your way out the door. Being a Browns fan isn’t about a coach or a player, it’s about a city and a team, and if you’re fickle enough to change your allegiance, you embody the opposite of what it means to be a Browns fan.
Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe you haven’t, that I have been especially quiet on Twitter for the entirety of the Browns search. To me, all of the speculation and sources are ridiculous and unworthy of my attention. No speculation is worth it until the Browns officially hire a head coach.
Yes, it’s scary that the Browns have just restarted their search after going through a slew of candidates and losing their “guy”, if you will. However, you and I aren’t going to change that. Who you want to coach, nor who I want to coach, are going to matter in the long run. We don’t have the money or the power to choose the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns, and therefore our opinions matter not. Sure we can have them, and you can make them known, but at the end of the day you’re not being listened to, so why waste your time and effort getting angry and emotional about the head coaching hire? It makes no sense.
I am worried about who the next Browns head coach will be. I am worried that we are very much going to see another disappointing hire, and that there are only a few candidates left who can truly bring hope to the sidelines, but until they hire someone, I am going to keep quiet. I am going to trust Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner to hire the right guy, and when they hire the right guy, I am going to trust that guy 100%. Obviously, I am going to have biases as to who the better hire is, but regardless, I am going to back the new coach as much as I can.
Sit tight Browns fans and have patience. I know it’s tough, believe me, I am very anxious to see who will be roaming the sidelines. I have been waiting since a few moments after Jimmy Haslam was hired for this decision. I wanted them to announce the new coach in the presser minutes after Shurmur was fired. Unfortunately for me, and for all Browns fans, we’re going to have to wait. Furthermore, we’re going to have to wait for a candidate that wasn’t in the original plans of Haslam and Banner.
I don’t know how Jimmy and Joe are going to spin this hire, because obviously it wasn’t their first choice, but it will be interesting to see what they can make out of nothing. This is when champions are made, when their backs are against the wall, and clearly the Browns are against the wall.
Be it Trestman, Arians, McCoy, Roman, Tressel, or anyone else, let’s get behind our team, our town, and our owners and support this until it fails. Jimmy and Joe certainly aren’t going to give up on this coaching search, even though it hasn’t gone their way, so why would we?
Of course, I hope the Browns hire a coach sooner rather than later, but as a whole Browns fans need to be patient and have trust that Haslam, Banner and the new head coach, whoever it may be, will bring the Browns back to prominence in the NFL.
Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove