Browns closing in on head coach

  • Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen [ARCHIVE]
  • ESPN | January 23, 2014
Mike Pettine
George Gojkovich/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns' head-coaching search is down to two finalists, and the team's brass is expected to meet with each Thursday before selecting its hire, league sources told ESPN.

League sources believe Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has emerged as the favorite, though Cleveland has not made any decision yet. Pettine will be one of the two candidates to fly to Cleveland to interview with the Browns again on Thursday.

Mike Pettine
George Gojkovich/Getty ImagesBills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will fly to Cleveland for another interview with the Browns on Thursday, sources told ESPN.

The Browns also met for five hours Wednesday at a Tampa, Fla., airport with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, sources said. They also spoke Wednesday morning with Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, sources said.

Schiano's name is the latest on a long list of candidates the Browns have interviewed for the position. He was fired last month after going 11-21 in two seasons for the Bucs after being a surprise hire out of Rutgers in 2012.

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels also is reportedly still in the mix for the job as well.

Cleveland is the only team without a head coach, and owner Jimmy Haslam said last week the team is "prepared to wait as long as necessary" to hire one.

Haslam, CEO Joe Banner and other members of the Browns front office met with Pettine for about four hours Tuesday night in Mobile, Ala., site of the Senior Bowl, but reportedly did not offer him the job.

It was the second interview between the sides, the other coming last Thursday.

The 47-year-old Pettine spent four seasons as a defensive coordinator under Rex Ryan with the New York Jets before joining the Bills. Pettine also has worked as an assistant with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Browns are in the fourth week of their search for their seventh full-time coach since 1999.

ESPN.com Browns reporter Pat McManamon and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tell us what you think!

Take Survey Now » No Thanks »