Browns pick ex-Ravens assistant Pettine as coach

Browns pick ex-Ravens assistant Pettine as coach
January 23, 2014, 11:30 pm
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(Kevin Hoffman/ USA TODAY Sports)

Was Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine the Cleveland Browns’ first choice as head coach? Second choice? Third choice?

Right up until deciding on Pettine, a former Ravens assistant, the Browns kept interviewing other candidates. On Wednesday, they talked with Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and fired Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, Cleveland.com reported. Meanwhile, earlier on Thursday, the Browns were still strongly considering Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Cleveland.com said.

But by Thursday afternoon, the Browns had brought in Pettine and worked out a deal, reportedly for five years. (Somewhere, Rob Chudzinski — fired after one year as Cleveland’s coach — is saying, “Five years? Who they kiddin’?)

In the end, the Browns ended up interviewing 10 candidates for the job, including higher-profile names such as Ken Whisenhunt, Josh McDaniels and Mike Munchak. Whisenhunt was hired by the Tennessee Titans as head coach, replacing Munchak, who has gone on to become Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach. McDaniels, the New England Patriots offensive coordinator, had pulled out of the running and then declined to get back in the race, Cleveland.com reported.

"We wanted to be thorough from the start," Browns CEO Joe Banner said in a statement, "and we interviewed as many people as we could. From that group, we hired the best individual for this job. Our players and fans are going to really enjoy Mike Pettine and his leadership style. We're excited to have him out in front of our team, and we look forward to working closely with him."

So, “thorough” is code for: We kept trying to find somebody else. But they’re really cool with hiring Pettine. Really.