BEREA, Ohio — Mike Pettine knows he might not have been Cleveland’s first choice or even the Browns’ second pick.
All that matters to the son of a high school coaching legend is that he’s the one they selected.
“It’s been my lifelong dream to be an NFL head coach,” Pettine said Thursday, “and however that opportunity presents itself, it’s fine with me.”
After nearly a month of twists, turns and talk, the Browns found their man.
Buffalo’s former defensive coordinator, who didn’t seem to be on Cleveland’s radar when the team began a coaching search last month, signed a five-year contract Thursday and was named the Browns’ seventh full-time coach since 1999. Pettine replaces Rob Chudzinski, fired on Dec. 29 after just one season.
The Browns interviewed 10 candidates before deciding on the 47-year-old Pettine, who has built a solid reputation with a no-nonsense approach with his players.
“I have been nicknamed BFT — Blunt Force Trauma,” he said. “The days are too short to dance around subjects some time and I think guys appreciate that.”
His straight-forward style attracted Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, who set out to find a “strong winner” and feels the clean-shaven Pettine can lead Cleveland’s resurgence.
“He’s very smart,” Haslam said. “He’s aggressive. He’s innovative. You can see he’s tough. He’s going to be very demanding. He’s going to set high standards for our organization.”
Pettine spent one year with the Bills after four as Rex Ryan’s defensive coordinator with the New York Jets. Before that, Pettine was an assistant coach in Baltimore, giving him some familiarity in Cleveland’s division.
His hiring ends a 25-day odyssey for the Browns. It was a quest filled with rumors, denials, withdrawals and far too much drama for a franchise seeking stability.
At the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, Browns tight end Jordan Cameron echoed the sentiments of most Cleveland fans.
“I’m just happy to have a coach,” he said.
Seattle’s Harvin excited for Super Bowl chance
RENTON, Wash. — Percy Harvin doesn’t want to think about all the setbacks in his first season in Seattle with the chance of winning a Super Bowl title on the horizon.
Harvin said Thursday that while it’s been a frustrating season, he’s trying to get himself ready for next week’s game against Denver.
Harvin returned to practice Wednesday after passing the league’s concussion protocol. He was injured late in the first half of Seattle’s divisional round win over New Orleans, then was stuck being a spectator Sunday as the Seahawks beat San Francisco 23-17 to reach the second Super Bowl in franchise history.
Harvin said his past problems with migraines did not slow his recovery from the concussion.
O’Reilly to interview Obama before SB
NEW YORK — President Barack Obama will sit for a live interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly before the Super Bowl.
The interview at the White House will air as part of Fox’s pregame show Feb. 2.
It’s become an annual tradition for the president to talk to the network televising the game on Super Bowl Sunday. O’Reilly also interviewed Obama before the Super Bowl three years ago, the last time Fox had the NFL championship.
Fox said Thursday that an additional recorded portion of the interview will be aired on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Feb. 3.
Vikings’ Peterson has surgery on groin
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had groin surgery Thursday and is expected to spend the next six weeks recovering.
The Vikings said the operation went as planned, in Philadelphia by William Meyers.
Peterson rushed for 1,266 yards in 14 games, missing two in December due to a sprained right foot. The groin muscle had been bothering him for much of the season.
By wire sources