Browns fire coach Pat Shurmur, GM Tom Heckert
"I would love for him to be here, but I doubt if he would come to the NFL and leave Alabama," said rookie running back Trent Richardson, who played for Saban with the Crimson Tide. "I can't see him leaving."
Kelly's up-tempo offense is intriguing to the Browns. With Richardson, quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Josh Gordon, they have a young nucleus to build around.
Penn State's Bill O'Brien, who served as New England's offensive coordinator before taking over in Happy Valley, is also believed to be on the Browns' short list.
There is also reported interest in several NFL coordinators including Indianapolis' Bruce Arians, New England's Josh McDaniels, Denver's Mike McCoy and Washington's Kyle Shanahan,
Fox Sports reported Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will interview with the Browns this week.
Haslam promised a thorough search.
"We're going to explore all avenues, college coaches, coordinators and head coaches," he said. "The key is to get the right person."
Among the GM candidates expected to be considered are: Atlanta player personnel director David Caldwell, San Francisco director of player personnel Tom Gamble, Baltimore assistant GM Eric DeCosta and NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi, who worked with Banner in Philadelphia and for the Browns when Belichick was Cleveland's coach.
Banner said it's possible the Browns would hire a player personnel director, not necessarily a GM.
Shurmur, who has two years left on his contract, was emotional when addressing the Browns for the final time.
"It's unfortunate, very unfortunate," Weeden said of the changes. "When you don't win games, it's not on Pat, it's not on Mr. Heckert, it's all on us and we all feel a sense of responsibility."
Following Sunday's game in Pittsburgh, Shurmur said he had not spoken to Haslam or Banner in "quite some time," a clear sign the team was moving on without him.
Shurmur was not available for comment. Not long after leaving the team's facility, he attended a movie at a cinema complex with his family.
He departed the Browns with some satisfaction.
"I am extremely proud of the players on this team, who I felt made tremendous strides and helped to make the Cleveland Browns relevant again," Shurmur said in a release. "This group of players will achieve success soon, and there will be a part of me that will feel very good when that happens."
Shurmur's fate may have been sealed on the first day of training camp when Haslam's intent to buy the Browns was announced. It may not have mattered how Shurmur did this season because Haslam, a former minority owner with the Steelers, was intent on bringing in his own people.
He wants to find his first coach "sooner than later," but he's willing to wait.
"Whatever timetable it takes to get the right person," he said. "We're going to take."
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