CLEVELAND – Mike Pettine is getting a second look from the Browns, who could be zeroing in on their next coach.
Buffalo’s defensive coordinator had a second interview with Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner on Tuesday night, a person familiar with the Browns’ plans told the Associated Press. The meeting is taking place in Mobile, Ala., site of the Senior Bowl, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not commenting during its search.
Pettine impressed the Browns during Thursday’s first interview, and if his second meeting goes well, the team may be able to end a search that has dragged into its fourth week.
The fact that Haslam and Banner traveled to meet with Pettine indicates the team has strong interest in making him their seventh full-time coach since 1999.
Pettine just completed his first year with the Bills, and the team improved on defense. Though the Bills still struggled against the run, they finished second in the NFL with a franchise-record 57 sacks.
Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas hopes Pettine stays put.
“Hey (hash)Browns leave our DC alone,” Thomas posted on his Twitter account.
Earlier, Adam Gase, Denver’s highly regarded offensive coordinator, called Haslam and informed him he was withdrawing his name and would not interview after the Super Bowl. Gase helped get the Broncos and Peyton Manning to Super Bowl XLVIII against Seattle.
Rice picks Brees
HONOLULU – NFL great Jerry Rice is already bucking conventional fantasy football wisdom in a new Pro Bowl format inspired by the popular hobby.
Rice picked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn to anchor his Pro Bowl team on Tuesday, opting for a passer over a runner.
Rice made the selections in Hawaii after winning a coin toss against Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders. Rice called tails.
The decision prompted Sanders to select Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles and Houston defensive end J.J. Watt for Sunday’s game.
Sanders picked Ndamukong Suh with his first defensive tackle selection, and then opted for Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe. Rice grabbed Jason Hatcher and Buffalo’s Marcell Dareus, and was assigned Dareus’ teammate, Kyle Williams.
The rest of the players will be picked today.
Around the league
• Commissioner Roger Goodell said he’s toying with the idea of eliminating extra points because the success rate is so high. He’s suggesting perhaps making a touchdown worth seven points instead of six, with teams having the option to run a play for another point.
• The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have hired Arizona Cardinals front-office executive Jason Licht as their new general manager.
• The Detroit Lions hired Joe Lombardi as offensive coordinator. Lombardi is the grandson of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi.