Browns reportedly have strong interest in Urban Meyer as next head coach

As the Cleveland Browns hunt for their fourth coach in five years, one of their state's biggest names appears to be on the team's radar.

According to Bruce Feldman, of Fox Sports and The Athletic, the Browns have "strong interest" in former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer as a candidate for their vacancy.

It remains to be seen if Meyer has mutual interest in replacing Freddie Kitchens, who was fired after just one season at the helm of the staff, and the Browns have already kicked off their search under former MLB executive Paul DePodesta -- who reportedly won a power struggle with since-departed general manager John Dorsey. Seven different candidates, including former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, have either spoken with the team or are expected to.

But this isn't the first time Meyer and the Browns have been linked.

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported in December that Cleveland could offer Meyer his best chance at jumping from the NCAA to the NFL, as Meyer and Browns owner Jimmy Haslam "have long been confidants." Currently on staff at Ohio State as the Buckeyes' assistant athletic director, Meyer has openly campaigned for the Dallas Cowboys job and visited Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder during the 2019 season, but he has "a very strong bond" with Haslam, per La Canfora, and has been on the Browns' radar, at least to some degree, since late in Kitchens' lone season running the show.

The 55-year-old Meyer has never coached in the NFL, but he has long been one of college football's most notable names. His first head coaching gig came with Bowling Green in 2001, and he went 22-2 guiding Utah from 2003-04, but he's best known for overseeing three national championship runs at Florida (2005-10) and Ohio State (2012-18). Meyer retired from coaching after the Buckeyes' 2019 Rose Bowl victory but has remained a part of the OSU program.

CBS Sports Writer

Cody Benjamin joined CBS Sports in 2017 after time spent with SB Nation, various newspapers and his own Eagles outlet. Raised around the Philly sports scene, he now lives in Minnesota with his wife and... Full Bio

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