Jim Tressel finally addressed the Cleveland Browns' head coach opening, and while he said he has had no contact with the team he also said: “It doesn’t mean that I don’t have any interest in the NFL.”
Tressel, the former wildly popular and successful Ohio State coach, is a vice president at the University of Akron. The Browns have not contacted him, and have shown no interest in doing so. A quick rumor last week that Tressel would interview was quickly defused.
But that hasn’t stopped fans who still like and respect Tressel from wishing he were a candidate for the Browns.
Tressel spoke on the Bishop & Rothman show on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus to promote an autograph appearance he will make at a Memorabilia Show called the Midwest Sports Spectacular.
“I have not had discussions with Cleveland,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that I don’t have any interest in the NFL or anything. I don’t want to paint that picture. But at this point in time I have not.”
Tressel grew up in Berea, where the Browns train. He coached Youngstown State to four national titles before going to Ohio State, where he won one national title and played for two more. He left in the wake of an NCAA investigation and spent one year working for the Indianapolis Colts as the team’s “replay coach” in the booth.
“I really did enjoy that year I spent at Indianapolis ... ” he said. “I had never really experienced NFL from the inside. I always looked at it being from the college sector that it was different and maybe you couldn’t have the impact on the young people like you could in college and whatnot. And really I learned that good coaches like Jim Caldwell and a lot of folks in the league not only win games and draw Xs and Os, but they really do a good job of helping people in the early portions of their lives. I enjoyed it.”
Tressel talked about living in the moment and being happy at Akron, but also said he watches bowl games and the NFL playoffs avidly.
“I don’t know if you love football how your blood couldn’t boil if you’re watching football at this time of year,” he said.
He concluded his Browns-related discussion by saying there were plenty of job changes in college and the NFL.
“I think it’s going to be an interesting time here in the next few weeks, next month,” he said, “and I wouldn’t count anything out.”
The Browns have focused their search on NFL assistant coaches and coordinators. But the fans are well aware that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam talked about wanting to hire a “proven winner.”
Those same have not forgot Tressel’s 106-22 record at Ohio State, especially these three.