As the dumpster fire that is the Cleveland Browns continues to reach new and epic lows, there’s yet another report that connects my beloved but laughably embarrassing NFL team to the college game.
The NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport tweeted Tuesday morning that the Browns had “secretly interviewed” Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen during their search for yet another head coach. The interview didn’t lead anywhere as the Browns ultimately hired Mike Petine as its latest head coach.
One day after Petine was officially introduced by the Browns, however, a new UW contract extension for Andersen was officially introduced as well. While the financial particulars weren’t released, it’s believed a substantial bump to his $1.8 million salary in 2013 was included.
Shortly after the report surfaced, Andersen confirmed that he had a conversation with the NFL club.
“Officials from the Cleveland Browns contacted me to talk about their head coaching vacancy,” Andersen said in a statement released by the university. “After our initial conversation, I decided not to pursue the position.
“I am committed to the University of Wisconsin and the student-athletes in our program. I love the city of Madison and am grateful for all the support from Badgers fans around the state and around the country. I look forward to the start of spring football in a couple weeks and turning the focus to preparing for 2014.”
Andersen’s boss, athletic director Barry Alvarez, released his own statement, making it clear that he was aware of the Browns’ interest in his head coach.
“I’m appreciative that Gary handled all of this the right way.,” the AD’s statement read. “He alerted me immediately that he had been contacted by the Browns and affirmed his commitment to the University of Wisconsin. When you have talented coaches on your roster, there will always be people who want to talk to them. I think that Gary is one of the top coaches in the country and am glad that he is leading our team.”
The fact that the Browns would have an interest in a coach at the collegiate level is far from surprising, even if Andersen’s name hadn’t previously been mentioned.
After the firing of Pat Shurmur following the 2012 season, the Browns interviewed Syracuse’s Doug Marrone, Oregon’s Chip Kelly and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien. After the firing of Rob Chudzinski following the 2013 season, the Browns were connected to college coaches such as Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin (before he replaced O’Brien at Penn State) and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn.
After Petine is fired following the 2014 season, I’m quite certain the woebegone franchise will sniff around the collegiate ranks yet again.