Gase withdraws from Browns' search
The Browns had a second interview with Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine on Tuesday evening, according to league sources. The team also is considering other candidates, including Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter also will interview for the Browns job, sources confirmed to ESPN. Koetter will become the eighth candidate to interview for the vacancy.
Gase called the Browns on Tuesday morning to inform them that he wanted to concentrate on Denver's upcoming matchup with Seattle in the Super Bowl and would not interview with Cleveland after the Feb. 2 game, according to multiple media reports.
The Browns, who have not made the postseason since 2002, are searching for a replacement for Rob Chudzinski, who was fired after going 4-12 in his first season as coach.
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Gase, 35, was the first candidate the Browns asked permission to interview after firing Chudzinski in the hours following a Dec. 29 loss at Pittsburgh. He declined Cleveland's initial offer for an interview so he could focus on the Broncos' playoff run.
Cleveland also has been spurned by New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who withdrew from consideration earlier this month, a source told ESPN.
Pettine first met with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner on Thursday. The 47-year-old is coming off his first season with the Bills after four seasons as defensive coordinator for the New York Jets.
League rules prohibit teams from finalizing deals with assistant coaches whose teams are still in the postseason. So even if the Browns want Quinn, the club can't discuss a contract until after the Super Bowl.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press is included in this report.