When people ask why the Cleveland Browns aren’t interviewing Jim Tressel to be the team’s next coach, I give a simple answer: I have no idea.
There really is no reason not to interview Tressel.
Unless you have eliminated winning coaches who have proven they can win at several different levels who grew up in the city where the Browns' facility is located.
No reason those credentials should be included. #sarcasmfont
Tressel gave an interesting interview to a Columbus radio station on Wednesday, during which he admitted being interested in coaching in the NFL, and saying you never know what might happen. Tressel did his usual thing of circling around a question and saying something interesting while not really answering it directly, so it made the interview a little quirky. But interesting just the same.
He works at the University of Akron, where Luis Proenza is retiring as president in the spring.
Tressel said he has had no contact with the Browns, and the word has leaked that the Browns will not interview him. Early in the search, that might be understandable, but at this point it’s almost illogical not to consider him.
Tressel has won national championships at every level he’s coached. He has never been in the NFL, but he spent a year in Indianapolis soaking things up. He fits the qualification of “proven winner” stated by Jimmy Haslam far better than some of the assistant coaches the Browns have interviewed.
In fact, remove the names from the resumes, and Tressel’s would blow some of the others away.
Tressel grew up in Berea, Ohio. Lived there when his Dad coached Baldwin Wallace. That doesn’t mean he would succeed, it just shows the connection between him and the Browns and their fans. He remains beloved at Ohio State and in the state of Ohio, even if an NCAA investigation cost him his job.
In Cleveland, he would bring some things the Browns badly need right now: Excitement, and credibility. There would be instant buy-in from the fans. That doesn’t make a team a winner, but a guy who brings smarts, organization, leadership and wins might mean something. He also has an incredible sideline demeanor that oozes confidence and belief, and that matters.
The risk with interviewing Tressel is that if they don’t hire him, the Browns become the organization that turned him down. That could be more negative PR.
Maybe there's some mystery behind the scenes. Maybe Tressel has already said no thanks -- though that radio interview sure didn't indicate that. At this point, given the list of candidates and given Ken Whisenhunt is on the short list in Detroit, there is little reason to pretend Tressel doesn’t exist.
He’s right down the road for crying out loud.