The Browns brought in a head coaching candidate for a second interview Thursday, and it's a surprising development.
Former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, who was part of the first phase of the Browns' search, is apparently part of the second phase as well. Whisenhunt's second meeting with Browns officials was reported by The Plain Dealer and later confirmed by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
It seemed like the Browns had moved on from Whisenhunt after interviewing him last week in Arizona and then returning to Cleveland to reboot their search. If Whisenhunt had impressed the Browns so much in the first meeting, I'm not sure why it's taken a full week to get back in touch with him.
Maybe the Browns are just being thorough. The Browns interviewed Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski this week in Cleveland before bringing in Whisenhunt for a second meeting. But, considering how the Browns lost out on Syracuse's Doug Marrone, who was hired by the Bills, you would think there would be a sense of urgency if they had pegged Whisenhunt as their second choice behind Oregon's Chip Kelly.
While this news won't generate much buzz among fans, Whisenhunt is an intriguing candidate, and he's more experienced than Kelly. Whisenhunt took a long-time losing franchise to the Super Bowl, and he has experience in the AFC North. He was the Steelers' offensive coordinator for three seasons (2004-06) and spent time as the tight ends coach for the Browns and Ravens.
Obviously, the Browns like Whisenhunt enough to talk to him a second time. We'll find out how much they like him over the next couple of days.