BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Cleveland Browns didn’t even talk to Mike McCarthy on their last coaching search. He was at the top of their list this time.
The former Green Bay coach is meeting Thursday with Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam as Cleveland begins its latest quest to find the right coach after so many failed attempts.
McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl with the Packers in 2010 and went to the playoffs nine times in 13 years before being fired in 2018, would seem to have everything the Browns covet. He’s a respected, proven winner with experience handling quarterbacks.
The 56-year-old spent the past year out of football, immersing himself into studying concepts and trends and embracing analytics. He’s already interviewed with Carolina about their opening and will likely meet with the Giants about their opening.
The Browns are seeking their seventh coach in 10 years after firing Freddie Kitchens on Sunday, hours after ending a disappointing 6-10 season with a loss at Cincinnati.
Kitchens’ dismissal was followed by the surprising ouster of general manager John Dorsey, who mutually parted ways with the team on Tuesday after refusing to accept a diminished role offered by the Haslams.
McCarthy went 125-77-2 in Green Bay, but he was often criticized for not winning more that one Super Bowl with star QB Aaron Rodgers. He was assumed to be a leading candidate with Cleveland last year because of his Packers ties with Dorsey and others in Cleveland’s front office, but he was never interviewed.
The Browns are in the early stages of what is expected to be a comprehensive coaching search led by the Haslams, who have exhibited little patience during their tenure. Since they took over the team in 2012 from Randy Lerner, the Haslams have fired five coaches and five lead front office executives.
Dorsey’s insistence on hiring Kitchens a year ago along with some misses in the past two drafts negated all the positives he had gained in his first year with the Browns, who didn’t win a game in 2017.
Cleveland also has interviews lined up with Patriots offensive coordinator John McDaniels, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.