CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns are taking a second look at former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, who could rejoin Cleveland following a stint as an assistant 14 years ago.
Two people familiar with the meeting said Whisenhunt had a second interview with the Browns on Thursday.
Whisenhunt, recently fired after six seasons with the Cardinals, visited the Browns away from their headquarters in Berea, Ohio, said one person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the search.
The team met with Whisenhunt last week in Arizona, where Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner are known to have conducted interviews with at least four other candidates. Whisenhunt went 45-51 in six regular seasons — he was 4-2 in the playoffs — and led the Cardinals to their only Super Bowl appearance.
The Browns are expected to interview Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. The Colts granted permission for the Browns to speak with Arians, who was released from the hospital on Wednesday after being treated for an inner ear infection that forced him to miss last week's playoff loss in Baltimore.
Already during the second week of their search, the Browns have interviewed Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman, Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. The team will not comment on any interview or candidates until they have an agreement with the 14th coach in team history.
The Plain Dealer was first to report Whisenhunt's visit.
A second interview would seem to indicate a strong interest in Whisenhunt, a former NFL tight end who worked as a special teams coach with Cleveland in 1999 — the Browns' expansion rebirth. He's the first candidate known to have a second interview with the Browns, who fired Pat Shurmur one day after completing a 5-11 season — their fifth straight with at least 11 losses.
The Cardinals also let Whisenhunt go on Black Monday, Dec. 31, cutting ties with the winningest coach in franchise history and the one who helped resurrected a sad-sack franchise.