CLEVELAND – For the Cleveland Browns, in terms of trying to find their new head coach, it looks like it’s back to the drawing board.
According to ESPN insider, Chris Mortensen, the Browns will continue their search for their 14th head coach without Oregon Ducks head coach, Chip Kelly.
While this may not come as a shock to many in NFL circles, as Kelly rumored to be in agreement to coach the Philadelphia Eagles, many Browns fans are relived that Kelly and his up-tempo, fast-paced “Quack Attack” offense will either be heading to the “City Of Brotherly Love” or back to Eugene.
Kelly, who was once reportedly close to signing with the Browns, appears to getting a case of cold feet and is strongly leaning towards returning to Oregon.
The mere prospect of hiring the 49-year-old Kelly has been met with either extreme criticism or/and blind optimism, depending on who you talk to, while Kelly has been described as a “innovator” many Browns fans were—and are still—critical of giving full control and power to a head coach who has no NFL record to stand on, and at best runs a “gimmick” offense that would fail miserably in the brutal and rugged AFC North.
Make no mistake, there is no Washington State or Colorado to run the score up on, the thought of seeing his offense get exposed and destroyed by the likes of Troy Polamalu, Terrell Suggs and Leon Hall, may have given Kelly nightmares.
Just when Browns fans were ready to embrace Kelly’s video-game-like offense, he stands up both Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III and CEO Joe Banner to spend eight hours with the Philadelphia Eagles brass, and is now on the cusp of leaving them at the altar, the same way he left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the cold last year.
David Dunn, Kelly’s agent, has done a masterful impersonation of “Entourage” super-agent, Ari Gold, in advising his client to play both the Eagles and Browns against each other to get a more lucrative deal from Oregon at the same time. It is also a classic case of exploiting Banner’s and Eagles CEO Jeffery Lurie’s past relationship to drive up the bidding price.
While the Browns were—at one point—set to make Kelly “an offer he could not refuse” his ego-driven lack of professionalism in his negotiations with the Browns is a clear indicator that Kelly was never really interested in leaving his mini-kingdom in the Pacific Northwest for the shores of Lake Erie—let alone South Philly.
If Kelly can’t show up for dinner and commit to a going in a new direction, then how will he handle himself in Philadelphia, which is much more rabid and vocal then even the most die-hard Oregon Ducks fan can ever dream of being.
The Browns were smart to drop out of the Kelly sweepstakes and not feed his massive ego with millions and full control of a young franchise that needs a proven NFL commodity and leadership, which Kelly is not.
Which leads to former Arizona Cardinals head coach, Ken Whisenhunt.
Whisenhunt, who would be fired after a 5-11 season, is reportedly one of the Browns top remaining options, now that Kelly is off the table, Doug Marrone agreeing to become the Buffalo Bills new head coach and Bill O’Brien has signed an extension to stay in Happy Valley.
While Whisenhunt may not be the Browns top choice, in this case, Plan D doesn’t look so bad at this juncture.
Unlike Kelly, Whisenhunt is a proven commodity and knows the rugged AFC North, thanks to his tenure in Pittsburgh as offensive coordinator. With Whisenhunt, the Browns will not have to make drastic changes in personnel and players, nor worry about how his offense would work in a pre-dominantly running and hard-hitting division.
Whisenhunt has worked with the likes of Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin and led a team to a Super Bowl, while Kelly has led the Ducks to four BCS bowl appearances, and most famously, watch his mediocre defenses get exposed more than Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez.
Whisenhunt has a Super Bowl ring from Pittsburgh on his finger, while Kelly has nothing, except a massive self-fulfilling prophecy that he is the second coming on Don Coryell and Bill Walsh.
If either Lurie and Knight are willing to pay a king’s ransom to retain Kelly’s joker-like professionalism and unproven offense, then by all means let them, as for once, the Browns were wise to not play the fool.
Robert D. Cobb is the Founder/CEO/Senior Editor-In-Chief Of The Inscriber : Digital Magazine, for questions, comments and concerns email me at [email protected] and follow the Inscriber : Digital Magazine on Twitter at @TheInscriber