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Report: Browns ‘very interested in Gus Malzahn, James Franklin

Gus Malzahn AP

One FBS program has already lost its head coach to the professional ranks.  Now, it could be an SEC school that’s forced to initiate its own search for a replacement.  Reportedly.

Wednesday morning, Jason La Canfora of reported that the Cleveland Browns are “very interested” in Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin as it conducts yet another search for a head coach.  The Browns also reportedly had an interest in Penn State’s Bill O’Brien, who is leaving the Nittany Lions to take the Houston Texans job.

Late last year, the Browns had interviewed O’Brien and Oregon’s Chip Kelly for their vacancy before settling on Rob Chudzinski, who was fired after just one year.

In this latest spinning of the coaching carousel, Franklin has also been mentioned in connection to the Minnesota Vikings opening.  Since late September, Franklin has seen his name tied to openings at USC and Texas; with O’Brien gone, Franklin is being rumored as a possibility at Penn State as well.

This is the first time that Malzahn, who will lead the Tigers into the BCS title game Monday night, has been tied to an NFL job.  Earlier this month, Malzahn was given a raise and a contract extension after leading AU to an 11-win season coming off just three wins in 2012.

La Canfora wrote that the Browns “are doing arduous legwork on Malzahn and Franklin, and are very intrigued by them,” adding that “Malzahn is actually the most likely of the group to land the position, though the process is still very much in its early stages.”

The writer also makes note of the fact that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is a University of Tennessee alum and a prominent UT booster.  And, for what it’s worth, both Malzahn and Franklin are represented by super-agent Jimmy Sexton.

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25 Responses to “Report: Browns ‘very interested in Gus Malzahn, James Franklin”
  1. afrancis55 says: Jan 1, 2014 12:04 PM

    Not happening. The browns may be interested in him, but I doubt Malzahn is interested in that hell hole known as ‘Cleveland’ after signing an extension HE initiated to the Auburn AD.

  2. amosalanzostagg says: Jan 1, 2014 12:06 PM

    Cleveland is a hot mess, what coach in their right mind would ever want to coach for that ownership?
    I guess Cleveland is the mistake by the lake for a reason and their fans deserve better.


  3. irishdodger says: Jan 1, 2014 12:09 PM

    Their agent, Sexton, is a UT alum like Haslem. No doubt in my mind that Sexton is working this for more dough for both coaches…..& his own commission of course.

  4. dkhhuey says: Jan 1, 2014 12:10 PM

    Let me get this straight – It’s in Cleveland, has a horrible owner and management staff that drafted/built a pathetic team, traded away their franchise player with no backup plan, then fired a coach after one year! Yeah, nothing says ‘dream job’ for top notch coaches like those selling points!!

  5. ozarkannie74 says: Jan 1, 2014 12:11 PM

    It’s all about money – Malzhan committed to Arkansas State University saying ” He wasn’t going anywhere” 1 year later he went to Auburn, saying “He isn’t going anywhere” – Money talks with this man, he has no dedictaion to any team when it comes to making the big bucks – he’ll go to the highest bidder – anyone want that bet?

  6. ningenito78 says: Jan 1, 2014 12:21 PM

    If you people don’t think Malzahan would bolt Auburn for ANY NFL job you are all lost.

  7. liverpoolred04 says: Jan 1, 2014 12:55 PM

    Color me lost, And yes I’ll take that bet with you Ozark Annie….that Arky State job will always be a stepping stone job…and he used it and stepped into the Auburn job…..if you honestly think he’s gonna jump at a job just because it’s an NFL job now that he is on top of the SEC world then you’re phuckin nuts.

  8. liverpoolred04 says: Jan 1, 2014 12:57 PM

    Plus Ozark Annie I’m guessing you’re a woman…so what do you actually know about football…must be a Bama fan

  9. thefiesty1 says: Jan 1, 2014 1:02 PM

    Nobody in their right mind would take that job. Not gonna happen with Malzahn.

  10. canetic says: Jan 1, 2014 1:04 PM

    You know who would be a good fit for the Browns? Rob Chudzinski. They should look into hiring him.

  11. agc99 says: Jan 1, 2014 1:26 PM

    Franklin is going somewhere. He’s good and people finally realize it.

  12. rolltide510 says: Jan 1, 2014 1:53 PM

    auburn is a FAMILY and people don’t leave families for better jobs.

  13. cranespy says: Jan 1, 2014 2:06 PM

    I am going all in on Gus at Auburn for years to come!

  14. 2ndand20 says: Jan 1, 2014 2:11 PM

    Gus isn’t going to take a terrible NFL job when he’s got a really good college job.

    He’d take a better NFL job yes. But not Cleveland.

  15. normtide says: Jan 1, 2014 2:36 PM

    I have no doubt Gus would take an NFL job, just not Cleveland. That place is a dumpster, the city and the team. The browns have to hire an assistant, no one is leaving a head coach job for Cleveland.

  16. redwing26 says: Jan 1, 2014 2:36 PM

    The only way Gus or Franklin take this job is if they want an NFL job in the worst way! Cleveland is the worst way and equal to career suicide!

  17. BrownsTown says: Jan 1, 2014 2:56 PM

    People in outhouses……I mean, glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones.

  18. redwing26 says: Jan 1, 2014 3:27 PM

    Hey BT you would know!

  19. afrancis55 says: Jan 1, 2014 3:34 PM

    BrownsTown the entire city of Cleveland is an outhouse

    Cleveland makes East St. Louis look heavenly

  20. ozarkannie74 says: Jan 1, 2014 3:44 PM

    liverpool: So only men are intelligent enough to understand football? What rock have you been living under?

    And Malzhan will leave Auburn, maybe not this year, but when he gets the offer he wants, he’s gone.

  21. auburntigers34 says: Jan 1, 2014 4:02 PM


    What’s this offer that Malzahn wants that would lead to him leaving Auburn?

    He’s not going anywhere. The last Auburn head coach that left (on his own accord)to take another job was probably John Heisman.

  22. sportsguy3434 says: Jan 1, 2014 4:37 PM

    Ha ha ha. I’m sure they would like to have them. They are too smart to take this job. Malzahan will be there awhile. Franklin will probably take a good job in the next year.

  23. iftheresahellbelow says: Jan 1, 2014 5:36 PM

    I’m sure CLEVELAND is interested in those 2, but are THEY interested. If either one of them left to go to the Browns I would tell their fans, good riddance to bad rubbish. The city of Cleveland and Browns fans deserve better than this carousel of coaches. Maybe the dog pound will reopen one day with some of its original bite. Good luck people of Cleveland and Browns fans everywhere, your going to need it.

  24. realfootballfan says: Jan 1, 2014 5:48 PM

    I think Malzahn is at his destination job and is a college coach through and through. Franklin, I can see in the NFL in the future, but not yet. Way too early right now.

  25. ohioguy614 says: Jan 2, 2014 4:47 PM

    The city of Cleveland is a lovely place to live, work and party. The reputation you have heard of in the past is no longer valid. Plus, it has nothing to do with this conversation about the Browns open coaching position, so why would you bring it up? You obviously hate your life so badly, that you feel you must drag everyone else down with you too.

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