Regardless of the conclusion one chooses to draw from the recent revelations regarding the Cleveland Browns’ attempted acquisition of 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, it’s a pretty big piece of news. The reverberations were obviously going to reach recently-hired Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine, but rather than being bowled over by the waves, Pettine has planted his feet and deflected them with relative ease.
When speaking of the phone call that Pettine received ahead of the news, the coach said, “I shot the messenger a little bit because I asked, ‘How does that affect my tenure as the head coach?” That’s a pretty healthy outlook if you ask me. Coach Pettine continued, “I think that’s noise. That’s something that has no bearing on my job moving forward and I think that’s a critical thing.”
Finally, to put it to rest, Pettine echoed a lot of my own sentiment regarding the Browns’ pursuit of a proven head coach. “I think that when you look at it, I think that it shows that the organization’s committed to getting it turned around, that it would investigate that option. I see that as a positive.”
The Jim Harbaugh news couldn’t have much less to do with Mike Pettine when it’s all said and done. Pettine is a first-time head coach without an NFL track record at that level. Pettine couldn’t be offended by the Browns’ pursuit of Jim Harbaugh anymore than they could be if the Browns had conversations with any other candidate with an NFL track record.
Pettine knows that it’s his job. He knows that he likely beat out some candidates. He also likely knows that he never would have been hired if a few other options had come together in the Browns’ favor. That’s not a knock against him. That’s just reality of his level of candidacy. The good thing is that it appears Pettine is the kind of guy who can accept who he is and where he is currently. He seems firmly focused on making the most of his own situation.
I really like this guy from what I know of him so far. It’s going to be a real shame (for him and for us) if it turns out he isn’t at least a decent NFL head coach.