It seems that the Browns can't go more than a few days without finding themselves in the news, almost always for the wrong reasons.
The latest example: ProFootballTalk reported Friday night that that the Browns almost traded for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. There was a deal in place, San Francisco would have received multiple draft picks from Cleveland, but ultimately, Harbaugh decided to stay put and the Browns ended up hiring Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
A short time later, 49ers CEO Jed York denied the report in about the most direct way possible:
Early Saturday morning, Harbaugh reiterated York's sentiments in a text message to CSN Bay Area's Dave Feldman.
“For the record, I echo Jed York's comment…'isn't true.' I know nothing about a trade with the Cleveland Browns and us involving me.”
But on Jan. 21, two days after the 49ers lost to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game, Harbaugh said that "I've had conversations with the Cleveland Browns," but said it was "regarding our coaches," presumably a reference to the Browns' head-coaching search including some 49ers' assistants.
But CSNBayArea.com's Matt Maiocco writes that the Browns never interviewed any of the coaches on Harbaugh's staff before hiring Pettine.
Meanwhile, PFT continues to stand by its original report, and ESPN's Chris Mortensen added this later Friday night.
Browns did indeed make a run at Jim Harbaugh that reached a serious stage, sources confirm substance of @ProFootballTalk report.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) February 22, 2014
Harbaugh has two years remaining on his contract. He and York couldn't agree on an extension last offseason but the two sides are expected to enter negotiations this offseason.