Jimmy Haslam purchased a controlling interest in the Browns in 2012. (Diamond Images/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has confirmed that his team was in talk with the San Francisco 49ers to trade for head coach Jim Harbaugh, according to USA Today's Jarrett Bell.
49ers president Jed York and Harbaugh have both denied that there were ever trade talks, but Haslam is confirming the report, saying "There was an opportunity there, and it didn't materialize."
The Browns had an extended search for a new head coach after firing Rob Chudzinski after just one season. The Browns eventually hired Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who told reporters he was unconcerned with the Harbuagh trade report.
"I got a phone call saying that that report was about to come out, and I shot the messenger a little bit. Because I asked, 'How does that affect my tenure as the head coach?' I think in my next sentence, I either used the word 'flying' followed by something or referenced a part of a rat's body," Pettine said. "I think that's noise. It has no bearing on my job moving forward."