“Our goal is to get the best person and if we happen to find that person within a week, that’s great and if it takes a month, that’s great also,” Haslam said.
Haslam and Banner are focused on hiring a coach first before turning their attention to a personnel executive. Tom Heckert, who overhauled Cleveland’s roster in the past three years, also was fired last week. It’s not known if the Browns have interviewed any GM candidates.
Cleveland’s courtship of Kelly turned into a two-day fling with no shortage of drama.
After Kelly met with the Browns for seven hours Friday, it appeared he was headed to Cleveland. The Philadelphia Eagles left Arizona after they were informed a deal between the Browns and Kelly was imminent. Kelly, though, kept his commitment for an interview with the Eagles and reportedly spent nine hours with him on Saturday, preventing the Browns from a second meeting
Kelly also met Friday with the Bills, but that was nothing more than a cursory interview for both sides.
The pursuit of Kelly created an interesting subplot between the Browns and Eagles. Banner spent 19 seasons in Philadelphia before leaving the team last year amid a power struggle. Banner is longtime friends with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, and the two of them potentially squaring off in a bidding war for Kelly was straight out of a screenplay.
It’s not known what kind of offer the Browns made for Kelly, who earned a base salary of $2.8 million last season at Oregon and has five years left on his contract.
Kelly’s high-octane, hurry-up offense has raised his profile and made the Ducks, with their splashy array of colorful Nike uniforms, more than a curiosity. Several NFL teams, including New England and Washington, are using elements of Kelly’s schemes.
The Browns were intrigued enough to see if they could work something out with Kelly.
But in the end, they detected he wasn’t ready.
They were right.
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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