For almost a week, rumors have been flying regarding the Cleveland Browns and, in particular, two of their coaches, head coach Romeo Crennel and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.
RAC's going to Miami. He's getting a contract extension. He's not getting a contract extension.
Chud will interview with Baltimore. The Dolphins are interested in the OC. The Browns will allow Crennel out of his contract and promote Chud.
So, what's real, and what's smoke? What exactly in the name of Paul Brown is going on in Berea?
Based on numerous conversations with several people over the last few days, here's what we believe is going on with the many issues surrounding each situation:
DOLPHINS INTEREST IN CRENNEL
As of this morning, the Dolphins had yet to officially talk to the Browns regarding Crennel. What the Dolphins are doing instead, multiple sources said, is putting out unofficial "feelers" in an attempt to gauge what it would take, compensation-wise, to get Crennel out of the last two years of his contract.
While it is highly unlikely that Crennel will end up in Miami, it is being discussed and remains an option for the Dolphins. The Browns may not want to give Crennel a contract extension (see below), but they would prefer him to remain in Cleveland. At least until Chud is deemed ready to be an NFL head coach.
CRENNEL CONTRACT EXTENSION
As it stands right now, the Browns are not in negotiations with Crennel or his agent regarding an extension. Nor do they have the desire, right now, to enter into negotiations. Of course, that could change, but it's "highly unlikely" according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation.
Did Crennel's agent, Joe Linta, broach the subject with Browns' management? Yes, on one occasion, The OBR confirmed, but nothing specific and only in general terms of his client being open to the idea.
But, as one source told The OBR, Linta had better be careful.
"(Phil) Savage and (Randy) Lerner do not like this kind of thing being played out in the media. If he really wants an extension, he's going about it the wrong way (by talking to the press)," the source said.
CONTRACT EXTENSION & THE ‘PHINS
Some reports have intimated that the rumors of Miami's interest are nothing more than a plant by someone associated with Bill Parcells, or Parcells himself, in order to get the Tuna's good friend a new contract. Or, they were planted by Linta in order to create hostility between his client and the Browns organization, forcing their hand and allowing Crennel out of his contract early.
Based on what we've been told, we have a high level of confidence that there is absolutely no truth to either of those two suggestions.
Any interest on the part of the Dolphins in Crennel is indeed real and not part of some complex contractual ploy.
CHUDZINSKI TO INTERVIEW WITH RAVENS
Yes, the Ravens have requested permission from the Browns to speak to Rob Chudzinski for their vacant head-coaching position, and they would like to do the sit-down sometime toward the middle to end of this upcoming week.
What's not known, however, is whether Chudzinski has accepted the offer to interview. E-mails sent to both Phil Savage and Neil Cornrich, Chudzinski's agent, seeking clarification as to whether or not the coordinator will interview with Baltimore have not been replied to as of early this afternoon.
While it's not likely, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Chudzinski could pull a Josh McDaniels and decline the interview.
There have been rumblings that Chud does not feel he is ready just yet to be a head coach, but we have not been able to confirm that to be the case.
CHUD & THE ‘PHINS
Stories coming out of South Florida have Parcells showing interest in Chudzinski as his new head coach. However, as of last night, the Dolphins had not contacted Chudzinski, his agent, or the Browns seeking permission to interview the 39-year-old.
What do we think will eventually happen? The Browns will open the 2008 season with its 2007 coaching staff intact. Crennel will be the head coach, sans a contract extension. Chudzinski will be the offensive coordinator. And Todd Grantham will be the defensive coordinator. Maybe. Possibly.
But, alas, Grantham is another story for another day.