Holy Spit! Cowher To Cleveland?

ProFootballTalk.com recently reported that Bill Cowher and the Cleveland Browns are a possible match, with both high on each other's lists. That intrigued John Taylor, who dug deeper into the story and provides yet another OBR exclusive report...

Earlier in the week, there was a report on the website ProFootballTalk.com which stated that former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher was possibly plotting a comeback; additionally, that The Spittler was pointing toward the 2008 season as his return date.

According to the report, there are three teams that currently maintain an interest, with the Cleveland Browns being one of the clubs who could join in the multi-, multi-million dollar pursuit.  Also, Cowher would seek full control over football operations wherever he would go.

While the Browns would most assuredly have an interest in Cowher as a head coach if/when current coach Romeo Crennel is canned, sources told The OBR, they would not have an interest if he were to demand full control over the football side of the organization.

And the reasons for that stance, sources said, are two-fold.

One, The Great Butch Davis Experiment is still fresh in the mind of owner Randy Lerner.  Ownership would not—let me repeat that—not allow its head coach to wield as much influence as Davis did at the end of his tenure in Berea.  At least not for the foreseeable future.

While the PFT report does state that Cowher is lining up personnel to run his front office, Lerner will be hesitant to the point of passing on a quality football mind if said mind would seek total control over all football decisions and front office hires.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, there is the presence of one Phil Savage.

To put it bluntly, Lerner loves the job that Savage is doing and truly believes in the general manager's vision of the proper path to becoming a contender.  Yes, there was the John Collins fiasco in January of 2006, but that was merely a blip in their relationship and, if anything, solidified the twosome and cemented Lerner's belief in Savage's plan.

Additionally, there is the matter of Savage's contract.  It is written into the GM's contract that he has the final say over the roster.

And, according to people who know Savage, that is a non-negotiable part of his deal.  It's not something that Savage would give up.  Period.

That language written into this current contract is the very reason why he decided against taking the Jacksonville GM job in 2003 and instead opted to remain in Baltimore.  He would not have been given final say over the shape of the Jaguars' roster, and that was a deal-breaker.  And Savage would not have come to Cleveland if he was not given final say, and he wouldn't remain in Cleveland if he didn't have the final say.

Bottom line?  If the organization were in the market for a head coach at season's end, Cowher's name would be at or near the top of their list.  However, his standing on that list would fall precipitously if he sought total control over football operations.

While the possibility of Cowher stalking the home sidelines of Cleveland Browns Stadium certainly exists, it's remote (at best), even if there's an element of truth in the PFT report.

The OBR Top Stories