He wasn't sure how much longer he could stay in the race.
"That was starting to wear on me these last couple of days," Pettine told WGR-AM in Buffalo. "I talked to (coach) Doug (Marrone) and it was getting to the point where I'd say, 'Hey, if this goes on much longer I need to pull out because it's just not fair to the Bills.'"
Pettine, who has tried to distance himself from his mentor Rex Ryan, confirmed he was not contacted by the Browns until 2 1/2 weeks after the regular season. At that point, the Bills were far along in their offseason preparations. Marrone still helped Pettine prepare for the moment; Marrone had interviewed with the Browns a year ago and was familiar with how the interviews were structured.
It took Cleveland a while to settle on Pettine, but the new coach says that he doesn't care whether or not he was the team's first choice. Browns fans shouldn't care either. Pettine is among our favorite new coaches, and the Browns might just wind up pleasantly surprised that guys like Adam Gase and Josh McDaniels dropped out of the running.