As we have seen in years past, the NFL offseason is typically a time where national media folks kindly ask the local contingent to step aside while they handle all of the latest and greatest on various hirings and firings. Last season, as the Browns were hot after Oregon’s Chip Kelly, it was NFL.com and ESPN.com leading the pack with the various newspaper folks left to merely retweet or re-word others’ reports.
Things do get a bit interesting, however, when a national report comes out and a local person swoops in to immediately refute it. Such is the case with the ongoing discussions surrounding Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and the reported mutual interest between he and and Cleveland Browns regarding the team’s currently vacant head coaching spot.
On Saturday, NFL.com’s Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Oklahoma Sooners coach Bob Stoops are the team’s top candidates to replace Rob Chudzinski and that it was Stoops who was expected to interview this coming week. McDaniels has been frequently linked to the Browns, but Stoops (and other collegiate coaches) has been more of a bold, wild card-type name.
Not long thereafter, it was Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer who took down Rapoport’s report as if it were a scud missile. With placement above the fold on A1 in Sunday’s paper as well as the featured link on Cleveland.com, Cabot refutes any report that links Stoops as a person of interest and says that an interview is not scheduled.
For the scoreboard watchers and finger pointers, it was Rapoport who all but cemented Kelly in as the next Browns head coach last season prior to the bizarre, and still under-discussed reversal on the coaches part. Recently, it was Cabot who refuted reports of Jim Tressel being interviewed for the Browns gig as well.
There is a big difference between “mutual interest” and “top candidates.” There’s posturing, and there’s the potential for misdirection from sources. Things can change on a dime, as evidenced by a year ago. For the time being, it appears that Rapoport is sticking to his guns.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 5, 2014
(AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)