Cleveland Browns move into Chip Kelly-or-bust mode

  • By Marc Sessler
  • Updated: Jan. 6, 2013 at 12:29 p.m.

The past 24 hours have been unkind to the Cleveland Browns.

With Chip Kelly being courted heavily Saturday by the Philadelphia Eagles and Syracuse's Doug Marrone accepting a job with the Buffalo Bills early Sunday, the Browns face the possibility of losing out on their first and second choice for head coach.

Kelly's fate is expected to become known Sunday. His decision is anyone's guess after a marathon session with the Eagles, who turned a lunchtime meeting with Kelly into an all-day affair that dug deep into the evening and wiped out a planned second get-together with the Browns. For Cleveland, it must have felt like watching your best girl zoom off in a car with another guy. All the old doubts creep in.

Cleveland's presumed Plan B, Marrone, became Buffalo's Plan A, leaving Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III and his hand-picked CEO, Joe Banner, in an awkward position. If Kelly opts for the Eagles or -- as some have speculated -- a return to Oregon, the Browns will be forced to publicly reboot the machine.

Kelly has masterfully worked the system and upped his value considerably by playing the field. The Browns have plenty of money to offer and reorganized their front office to allow for the incoming coach to hold considerable sway over the roster. Money and power are attractive to Kelly, but the Browns aren't the only team offering those commodities.

Browns fans have seen the team blown up time and again. Each new regime promises something the past couldn't deliver. Each new regime has failed to keep its word. From that angle, the past 24 hours feel awfully familiar to anyone who's followed this franchise through its gloomy rebirth.

It's Chip Kelly-or-bust for the Cleveland Browns.