On the 10th anniversary of their last playoff appearance, the Cleveland Browns may be in an unexpected fight over Oregon coach Chip Kelly.
Cleveland was awaiting a second meeting with Kelly, the Ducks’ offensive mastermind, on Saturday to hopefully complete a deal to make him the Browns’ sixth full-time coach since 1999.
However, Kelly decided to keep a scheduled interview with the Philadelphia Eagles that carried into the night, delaying the Browns’ second chance at signing college football’s hottest coach.
Kelly and his represen-tatives met with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner for a reported seven hours in Arizona on Friday. They came close to reaching an agreement, but the sides parted company without a deal but with signs pointing toward Kelly leaning toward joining the Browns, who fired Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert after a 5-11 season.
Kelly also met with the Buffalo Bills on Friday, and he decided to keep an appointment with the Eagles, who weren’t going to pursue the 49-year-old after they learned a deal between Kelly and Cleveland was near.
It’s possible Kelly and his agent, David Dunn, are meeting with the other teams to gain leverage with the Browns and sweeten the coach’s contract.
Kelly nearly jumped to the pros last year with Tampa Bay but decided at the last minute to return to Oregon, where he has been coach since 2009.
NFL.com reported that the Browns met with Syracuse’s Doug Marrone for a second time on Saturday as the Eagles talked to Kelly. The report said the Browns were trying to decide if they prefer Kelly or Marrone.
It’s possible the Browns will get Kelly, but it may have been harder than they thought 24 hours before.
EAGLES EYE BRADLEY
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, GM Howie Roseman and president Don Smolenski are continuing interviews for the team’s coaching vacancy, and the team released a statement naming three candidates – including Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
The other two are Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. The interviews with Arians and Bradley will likely take place by Tuesday.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera met with owner Jerry Richardson and was informed that he will return for a third season. … A 3-year-old gelding pacer named after Colts quarterback Andrew Luck earned the second victory of his career Friday at The Meadows in Washington, Pa.