The Cleveland Browns can cross one name off their list, as Matt Rhule — one of the top coaching candidates on the market — declined an interview with the team as they search for their new head coach.
The move by Rhule, who led Baylor to an 11-2 record this season, was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.
Ruhle is seen as a real contender for an NFL opening, with the Giants and Panthers both strong possibilities. He could also be considered for the Cowboys position if that job does indeed open up, as expected, which would keep him in the state of Texas.
Ruhle coached a Temple from 2013-16, amassing a 28-23 record and a pair of 10-win seasons in both 2015 and 2016. He’s led a Baylor team that won one game in 2017 to back-to-back Bowl games and nearly to a Big 12 title this season, losing to Oklahoma 30-23 in OT. His Bears will play in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday against Georgia.
Matt Ruhle Saw Jets Job Fall Through Last Season
Ruhle was linked to the Jets job last year, and was apparently close to taking it. However, he had a disagreement with the franchise about how coaching staff the coaching staff would be built.
“I don’t want to say anything about that job,” Rhule said on ESPN 1160 in Dallas. “At the end of the day, I’m never going to be in an arranged marriage. I’m never going to sub-contract out jobs for offense and defense. I’m always going to hire people I believe in —and are going to do things our way, that are going to believe in process, that are going to be part of a program. I truly believe that programs win.”
While on the Adam Schefter podcast, he spoke of the possibility of coaching in the pros.
“I don’t think I’m dumb enough or naive enough to say that I would never be an NFL coach. I just think for me I have such an unbelievable situation here (at Baylor) that it would have to be next to perfect,” said Rhule. “And even then it would be hard for me to do. Because you (Schefter) mentioned all of the things we’ve gotten done here – That took a lot of hard work. That took a lot of elbow grease. That was not easy.”
Browns Eye 49ers Assistants for Interviews
The Browns do have a nice haul of interview candidates coming in, the latest two addition coming from the 49ers organization.
Cleveland plans to interview Mike LaFleur for the head coaching spot. He’s currently the passing game coordinator for the Niners and the younger brother of Packers head coach Matt LaFleur.
There’s also reported interest between the Browns and San Francisco run game coordinator Mike McDaniel, but no interview has been set up, according to Schefter. The Niners defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is also on the list of Browns candidates that have agreed to interviews.
According to odds provided by SportsLine, McCarthy has the best shot of landing the Browns gig. He’s a favorite at +300 ahead of McDaniels (+450).
Counting interim head coach Gregg Williams in 2018, the Browns have had three head coaches in two seasons. Freddie Kitchens was fired after leading a team with massive expectations to a 6-10 record, losing to the one-win Bengals in the final week of the season.