Reports: Bill O'Brien staying at PSU
Bill O'Brien will remain coach of Penn State after interviewing this week with the Cleveland Browns, according to multiple reports Thursday.
O'Brien had previously said he would stay at Penn State after revitalizing the program in one year, but sources had told ESPN that both the Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles had him on their short list of candidates.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported that O'Brien had talked to the Browns this week, but multiple media outlets reported later Thursday night that O'Brien informed Penn State he would not be leaving.
The former Patriots offensive coordinator was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in his first season as Penn State's coach in 2012. The Nittany Lions finished the season 8-4 (6-2 Big Ten).
Sources told ESPN last week that teams that have gauged his interest have been informed by a third-party representative that when O'Brien accepted the task of being the late Joe Paterno's successor, he was told by school officials the Jerry Sandusky scandal was a criminal matter, not an NCAA concern.
That proved to be bad information as Penn State was dealt a four-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions as part of its penalties.
The sources emphasized O'Brien would not leave Penn State for just any NFL job. He bypassed an opportunity to interview for the Jacksonville job last January.
The Browns also interviewed Syracuse coach Doug Marrone on Thursday, the Plain Dealer reported. ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen earlier reported that Marrone would be interviewed Thursday.
On Friday, the Browns will talk to Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who also has an interview scheduled with the Buffalo Bills a day after the Ducks play Kansas State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner are conducting the interviews.
Former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt interviewed with the Browns on Wednesday in Arizona, league sources told ESPN. Whisenhunt, fired Monday by the Cardinals, also has interviewed with the Bills.
Haslam and Banner also interviewed Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton on Tuesday in Arizona.
Kelly has been courted by NFL teams in the past and came close to taking Tampa Bay's job last year. He has been deflecting questions about his future all week and did so again on Wednesday when he was asked if he expected to be contacted by NFL teams in the days ahead.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen, and The Associated Press were used in this report.