Source: Browns close to deal with Kelly


CLEVELAND — Chip Kelly is close to taking his fast-paced offense to the NFL.

A person familiar with the negotiations says the Cleveland Browns are nearing a deal with Oregon’s offensive mastermind to be their next coach.

The Browns interviewed Kelly on Friday, and the Ducks coach was supposed to meet with Philadelphia in Arizona. However, a person familiar with the interviews says the Eagles are “heading in another direction” because Kelly is nearing a deal with Cleveland.

Following Oregon’s win over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on Thursday night, the 49-year-old Kelly said he wanted to get the interview process over “quickly.”

He turned down an offer from Tampa Bay last year to return for his fourth season at Oregon, where he is 46-7. He has boosted the school’s national profile — flashy uniforms helped — with a high-powered offense capable of turning any game into a track meet.

Kelly has been at the top of the Browns’ list of candidates since the team fired Pat Shurmur, who went 9-23 in two seasons. Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner have been conducting interviews in Arizona all week, searching for the team’s sixth coach since 1999.

The Browns, who have only made the playoffs once in 14 seasons, have declined comment on any interviews.

Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton confirmed he interviewed with Cleveland earlier this week. The Browns have reportedly met with former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, Syracuse coach Doug Marrone and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien, who removed himself from any consideration on Thursday night and intends to stay at the school.

Eagles set

to interview

Arians, Bradley

PHILADELPHIA — While Andy Reid has found a new home, the Philadelphia Eagles’ search to replace him could take some time.

The Eagles were granted permission Friday to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley for their coaching vacancy.

Team officials already met with three candidates and plan to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy in Denver on Sunday.

The Eagles interviewed Penn State’s Bill O’Brien on Thursday and met with Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong on Wednesday. O’Brien is remaining at Penn State. The Eagles wanted to talk to Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, but he signed a contract extension to stay with the team through next season.

The interviews with Arians and Bradley will take place next week.

Arians was 9-3 as interim coach in Indianapolis filling in for Chuck Pagano. He previously served as Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator from 2007-11. The 60-year-old Arians is quite familiar with Philadelphia, having coached Temple from 1983-88.

Bradley is in his fourth season in Seattle. His defense finished first in the NFL in points allowed (15.3) and fourth in yards (306.2).

The Eagles’ search could last until after the Super Bowl. There are several other coaches on playoff teams that could get interviews with Philadelphia, including Cincinnati’s Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer, Green Bay’s Ben McAdoo, Seattle’s Darrell Bevell, Washington’s Kyle Shanahan and Houston offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.

Panthers owner

to meet with Rivera

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has scheduled a meeting with Ron Rivera this morning to discuss the coach’s future with the team, said a person familiar with the situation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because the meeting has not been publically announced.

It’s uncertain if Richardson will inform Rivera whether he will remain Carolina’s coach at the meeting or gather input from Rivera and then make a determination at a later date.

Rivera has two years remaining on a four-year contract.

He’s 19-32 in two seasons as the Panthers coach.

Bills will interview

Broncos’ McCoy

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills are taking their coaching search to Denver to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy after spending much of the past week meeting candidates in Arizona.

A person familiar with the Bills search said Friday that the team is still scheduled to interview McCoy in Denver today. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not revealed who they’ve lined up to meet.

The Bills had tentatively scheduled the meeting with McCoy earlier in the week, though a day and time had not been determined.

As the AFC’s top seed, the Broncos are off until opening the playoffs on Jan. 12. They’ve allotted time for interested teams to interview McCoy in Denver this weekend. McCoy has also been linked as a candidate for coaching vacancies in Arizona, Philadelphia and Chicago.

The Bills search committee, headed by newly promoted team president Russ Brandon, has spent the past four days in Arizona interviewing several candidates.