The Cleveland Browns interviewed Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien this week in their search for a new coach, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot reported Thursday.
The report adds to the Browns' college coach-heavy list of candidates for their open position. They are expected to meet with Oregon coach Chip Kelly on Friday, and ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that they interviewed Syracuse coach Doug Marrone on Thursday.
O'Brien's interview is noteworthy, after the coach led Penn State to an 8-4 record in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal that rocked the university and the nation. O'Brien was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Before Penn State, O'Brien was the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, where he helped lead the team to the Super Bowl last season. He was hired before the NCAA handed down a four-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions as part of sanctions in the Sandusky scandal.
Mortensen reported that O'Brien's buyout could be a significant roadblock if an NFL team were interested in hiring him. It could be worth up to $9.2 million, but Mortensen reported that it wasn't clear if the buyout applied to an NFL gig.
Cleveland fired head coach Pat Shurmur after he led the team to a 9-23 record over the past two seasons.
Breaking: The #Browns interviewed Penn State coach Bill O'Brien this week, a source told the Plain Dealer today. — Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) January 3, 2013