- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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It's been assumed that Oregon coach Chip Kelly has been the Browns' top choice since the firing of Pat Shurmur on Monday. Based on one report Friday night, it sounds like the Browns are set to get their No. 1 candidate.
The Browns are close to a deal with Kelly, a source told the NFL Network. Cleveland is reportedly competing with the Eagles and the Bills. Kelly was scheduled to have an interview with the Bills on Friday, but he may not make it to that meeting. At the time of the report, the Browns had been talking to Kelly for four hours.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and chief executive officer Joe Banner have been in Arizona this week and began talking to Kelly late Friday morning, just hours after Kelly's Oregon Ducks won the Fiesta Bowl.
The Browns can hire Kelly because they've already complied with the Rooney Rule after interviewing Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Haslam and Banner said earlier this week that the team will find its head coach before turning their attention toward a general manager or personnel director.
Kelly would bring excitement and a new style of offense to the league, but he doesn't have any experience in the NFL.