NFL Coaching Rumors Update: Cleveland Browns Down to Two, But is a Decision Imminent?

Mike Pettine
Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine works with the defense during training camp at St John Fisher College Kevin Hoffman USA TODAY Sports

It seemed as if the Cleveland Browns were close to naming a new head coach Wednesday, but apparently the team will leave no stones unturned.

After the Browns were reportedly close to hiring Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, they interviewed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano and Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. Now, all indications suggest the search has been narrowed down to two.

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“I’m told that Schiano is completely out of the picture, and now right now it appears Mike Pettine is the leader to get the job,” Ed Werder said on ESPN’s Sportscenter Thursday morning. “It’s possible an announcement and decision could come from the Browns, the last (vacant) head-coaching position.”

Pettine is scheduled to undergo a third interview with the team Thursday, NFL.com reported. He’s been declared the frontrunner for the position by numerous insiders, though CBS Sports suggests both Schiano and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn remain in contention.

According to ESPN, the second finalist for the job remains unknown, both whomever it is will also meet with the team Thursday in Cleveland.

After undergoing a second round of interviews with Pettine Tuesday evening, members of the brain trust flew down to Florida to meet with Schiano at the Tampa airport, according to multiple reports, and soon after spoke with Koetter. But according to Werder, there is a chance the Browns’ interview with the former Bucs coach may be a play to create more leverage with Pettine. That sentiment was echoed by NFL.com, which reported Schaino will not be hired.

Koetter did not undergo a “formal interview” with the team, according to NFL.com, but the team may circle back to him — perhaps in a coordinator role.

After the former frontrunner, Adam Gase, became the third coordinator to remove his name from consideration for the job, Quinn was considered the Browns’ new top target. However, that has seemingly changed, but the Browns’ brass plans to meet with Quinn in the New York-New Jersey area sometime during the week leading up to the Super Bowl.

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