Bill O'Brien, Cleveland Browns discuss head coach job

  • By Kareem Copeland
  • Published: Jan. 3, 2013 at 09:54 p.m.

Penn State coach Bill O'Brien interviewed with the Cleveland Browns this week, a source briefed on O'Brien's plans confirmed to's Ian Rapoport on Thursday. Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer first reported the news.

The Browns reportedly have interviewed Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton and former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt. The Browns also are scheduled to meet with Oregon coach Chip Kelly.

O'Brien raises a different issue than the Browns' other coaching prospects. He was all-in with Penn State in replacing Joe Paterno last year and leading the program through the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sexual-abuse scandal. O'Brien made a hard sell to keep players and potential Nittany Lions recruits in the fold in the midst of a four-year postseason ban, upon other sanctions, and coached the team to an 8-4 record.

It's understandable if O'Brien, a former New England Patriots assistant coach, wants back in the NFL, but his integrity will be questioned by some if he bails on Penn State after only one year.

UPDATE: O'Brien is staying with Penn State,'s Ian Rapoport, Albert Breer and Kimberly Jones all confirm.