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Chip Kelly, Michael Lombardi to unite with Browns?

NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi is a known Chip Kelly fan. The University of Oregon coach is one of the most sought-after NFL coaching candidates, but some wonder if his version of the spread-option will work in the league.

Lombardi has no doubts.

"He's a very smart coach. He's a very analytical coach," Lombardi said Saturday on NFL Network's "First on the Field." "He's going to take the success that he has, he studies the pro game, and he's going to apply it to the pro game. His ideas in terms of what he does at Oregon will always come into the NFL, but they won't necessarily be the offense.

"Anybody who says Chip Kelly's offense won't work in the NFL, they really don't know Chip Kelly as a person. Chip Kelly's very smart, he's very analytical, and he'll adapt to the pro game, and his talents as a leader will take over as a head coach. ... I like people that think outside the box. I like people that think differently."

The Cleveland Browns reportedly are close to hiring Kelly. The Browns also need a general manager and could have interest in Lombardi.

"I have not have conversations with the Cleveland Browns whatsoever," Lombardi said. "It's still a wait-and-see."

The GM won't be hired until a decision is made on the coach. Lombardi, obviously, would be interested in working with Kelly and has history with the organization. These dominoes could start to fall soon.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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