Taylor's Circling The Browns

Bill Cowher is coming! (No, he's not). Martyball is back! (Wait, what?) With all kinds of media types weighing in with pseudo-scoops, John Taylor will give you the real deal. What's happening with the Browns leadership and inside Berea? Get the inside skinny...

--Over the next couple of weeks or so, the Cowher-to-Cleveland story is going to closely resemble a Cedar Point attraction. One day you'll see a report proclaiming Bill Cowher has agreed to become the savior of this moribund franchise, then there'll be a report the very next day stating there's no way in hell The Chin will want to come within 500 miles of the very same moribund franchise.

There's one thing to keep in mind as this story takes myriad twists and turns over the next month, though. Owner Randy Lerner, while coming off as somewhat shy and withdrawn to the general public, is a very engaging and – most importantly – persuasive individual when he on his own "turf" and in a one-on-one situation.

"I'll believe (Cowher) won't be the Browns' next head coach when he says no after sitting down for an interview with Randy," a source with knowledge of Lerner's demeanor in a business setting said, adding that he thinks the owner and ex-Steelers coach would hit it off immediately.

Lerner's expected to request a face-to-face interview with Cowher as soon as Romeo Crennel is officially fired. It's expected that Cowher will agree to a meeting with the owner in order to gauge the situation and what exactly the organization has to offer.

--Now, as for the whole Marty Schottenheimer angle to this head-coaching soap opera. In an interview with Adam Schein of Sirius radio on Monday, Schottenheimer, when asked about becoming the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns, said "I don't see that as being very likely at all… I really don't."

The quotes reminded one NFL source of a similar interview involving Schottenheimer nearly eight years ago.

"Rumors were swirling that Dan (Snyder) was going to make a run at Marty (to replace the fired Norv Turner as the Washington Redskins coach). Marty stated publicly that he couldn't envision working in that environment or something along those lines. A month later, he was sitting next to Dan at a press conference being introduced as the next Redskins head coach," the source said.

It's also somewhat similar to what happened when Cowher retired from the Steelers, the source said.

"When he left Pittsburgh, he said he had no intention of entering broadcasting, that he just wanted to spend time with his family and relax. I think it was less than two months later and he was hired by CBS for their pregame show."

--Now, this is not to say that Schottenheimer or Cowher will be coming to Cleveland. It's just meant to reiterate that what is being broadcast over the airwaves or written on the Internet has very little bearing on what is actually going on behind the scenes. Neither former coach has decided yet whether they want to come back or not, let alone ruled out a particular team as some in the local media are trumpeting.

--There are numerous players currently on Phil Savage's 53-man roster who are very unhappy with how the GM has seemingly treated their highly-respected and beloved head coach publicly the last couple of months. It's even more disturbing to them given the fact that it was Crennel who faced the media regarding issues that were created – wholly or in part – by Savage himself.

"(Savage) gets all bent at KII (Kellen Winslow), and (messes) that all up, then has no problem letting RAC stand there twisting in the wind for something coach had nothing to do with," a Browns source said. "Then Jamal (Lewis) can talk about quitting, which is an indictment of the coach, and Savage is nowhere to be found… (Savage) had no problem suspending KII, but lets Jamal off with not even a slap on the wrist? Why, because it wasn't a slap at him personally?

"And you hear (Savage) talking about his responsibilities and putting on a headset, just basically throwing a good man under the bus. It's ridiculous anymore around here."

--Neither Savage nor Crennel has received the "dreaded" public vote of confidence from Lerner. Perhaps more ominous for each – and the GM in particular – is the fact that neither has been given one in private, either. In fact, "it's been the opposite" said a Browns source. And it's the very reason why the halls of Berea have been seemingly covered from floor to ceiling with pins and needles in recent weeks.

--"If there is a front office shakeup in Cleveland, whoever comes in would be wise to keep Trip MacCracken around. He's a young, bright, sharp cap guy and would be a huge resource for anyone coming in." – an AFC North front office executive on the Browns' capologist.



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