Options limited as Browns enter second week of coach search

The Cleveland Browns are into their second week of searching for a coach. They still don't have much from which to choose.

And Jon Gruden might not be an option.

So far, the Browns have interviewed two coaches -- St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey -- as they look to replace Eric Mangini, fired by president Mike Holmgren after his second consecutive losing season.

Shurmur, 45, has been labeled a "front-runner" in some reports, but that can't mean too much in what's currently a two-man race.

The Browns have provided little information during a search Holmgren pledged would be "pretty wide." The team has only confirmed interviews after they have taken place and provided no details.

Holmgren didn't return a message left by The Associated Press, and a team spokesman had nothing to report Monday.

New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is expected to meet with the Browns sometime this week. A league source told the Plain Dealer that Fewell will interview Tuesday.

Fewell's interview would fulfill the NFL's Rooney Rule requiring teams to interview at least one minority candidate. Fewell was the Buffalo Bills' interim coach in 2009.

The Browns still might meet with Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who is believed to be on Holmgren's short list. The Eagles lost Sunday's NFC wild-card playoff game to the Green Bay Packers, freeing Mornhinweg to interview, but Philadelphia coach Andy Reid said he hasn't received any paperwork from Cleveland asking to meet with his assistant, who has strong ties to Holmgren.

The lack of formal permission doesn't mean the Browns don't want to speak with Mornhinweg, who went 5-27 in two seasons coaching bad Detroit Lions teams. His record aside, Mornhinweg runs the type of West Coast offense that Holmgren wants to install in Cleveland.

Mornhinweg, 48, played for Holmgren in high school and coached on his San Francisco 49ers staff. He also worked in Philadelphia with Browns general manager Tom Heckert. But beyond that, Mornhinweg is represented by agent Bob LaMonte, whose net of clients covers Cleveland's entire search.

LaMonte not only represents Holmgren -- a longtime friend and his first client 35 years ago -- and Heckert, but he also works for Shurmur; Mornhinweg; Gruden, the former Super Bowl-winning coach and current ESPN analyst; and John Fox, the former Carolina Panthers coach and a likely Holmgren target.

For more on the Cleveland Browns, check out the latest from our bloggers.

Fox will interview for the Denver Broncos' head-coaching vacancy Wednesday. It was rescheduled after he was unable to fly out of North Carolina on Monday because of bad weather.

As for Gruden, he remains a mystery man in Cleveland's quest to hire its fifth coach since 1999.

Gruden grew up in Sandusky, Ohio, rooting for the Browns and could be drawn back to the NFL by what was once a dream job. He has been linked to several job openings in the past, most recently with the University of Miami.

Gruden, whom Holmgren hired as an entry-level assistant in 1990, was in Arizona working ESPN's radio broadcast of Monday night's BCS national championship game. A network spokesman said Gruden was unavailable for comment and that "he remains committed to ESPN and to Monday Night Football."

The Associated Press contributed to this report

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.