Whisenhunt, 51, had just finished his lone season as the San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator on Sunday in the AFC Divisional Round. He had been the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2007-2012.
Last year, during the Browns coaching search, Whisenhunt interviewed for the position twice. Initially this time around, the Cleveland front office announced they wouldn’t be re-interviewing any repeat candidates. But as announced in the news on Thursday: The two sides met on Saturday in San Diego for Whisenhunt’s third and final interview of the week.
It had been assumed that the former Pittsburgh Steelers assistant was likely headed to Detroit for their head coach opening. The Lions have Matthew Stafford at quarterback and Calvin Johnson at wide receiver, making them a possibly enviable destination for a veteran head coach.
Additionally, Tennessee’s firing of Mike Munchak — also a reported new Browns interview target — was a bit suspect. The team was requiring their three-year coach to axe some of his assistants. But Munchak had spent over 30 years with the organization as a player and coach and was unwilling to do so. He was fired on Jan. 4.
Whisenhunt had moderate success with the Cardinals despite a rotating crew over at quarterback post-Kurt Warner. In Tennessee, he inherits a 7-9 squad that barely missed the playoffs. Young QB Jake Locker showed some signs of success this past year. The organization will have the No. 11 draft pick in April.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.