CLEVELAND—The Browns are hoping to help themselves while hurting their AFC North rival in the process.
Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was reported to meet with the Browns Sunday after the Bengals were eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday.
Jackson, 50, has head coaching experience in the NFL as he was coach of the Raiders in 2011 when they went 8-8, but was fired after one season. Jackson joined the Bengals after he left the Raiders and became the offensive coordinator for Cincinnati in 2014.
"If there is an NFL team out there that's not looking at Hue Jackson in their top three (head coaches), they are crazy," Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth told Cincinnati.com.
There were multiple reports that Jackson met with the 49ers for five hours on Sunday morning and are also very interested in hiring Jackson.
While the Browns couldn’t confirm the meeting with Jackson took place, they did confirm that they met with Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott on Sunday. Sports Illustrated's Michael Silver posted on his Twitter account that the Browns had concluded their interview with Jackson Sunday night and reported that the meeting went well.
The Panthers drew a bye for 15-1 regular season record. McDermott interviewed with Tampa Bay on Saturday.
The Panther’s defense finished sixth overall and sixth in points allowed per game. They also led the league with 24 interceptions and had 39 takeaways.
McDermott, 41, was the Eagles defensive coordinator until he was fired in 2011 and then took over the defensive coordinator position with Carolina where he has been since.
Adam Gase was the first coach interviewed by the Browns and he has taken the Dolphins position. Cowboys secondary coach Jerome Henderson interviewed with the Browns and has been reported to join Gase with the Dolphins if not hired by the Browns. The Browns have already interviewed former Bills coach Doug Marrone, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.