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Warner’s departure began Whisenhunt’s slide in the desert. The Cardinals went 5-11 in 2010 and 8-8 in 2011.

As a former minority owner with Pittsburgh, Haslam is very familiar with Whisenhunt, who would come in with an understanding of the AFC North.

Last week in Arizona, the Browns interviewed Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Oregon coach Chip Kelly, Syracuse’s Doug Marrone and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien.

Kelly was once thought to be the top name on Cleveland’s list, but the club backed off because he seemed uncertain about jumping to the NFL. Marrone was hired by Buffalo and O’Brien, the Big Ten’s coach of the year, returned for a second year with the Nittany Lions.

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