With each passing moment, the heat is being turned up on the Scott Pioli-to-Cleveland rumors. Pioli remains the favorite to land a position of power and significance within the Browns front office.
Pioli and Lerner spoke again today about the vacant front office spot, as well as head coach-type candidates. Indications are Pioli indeed prefers University of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, a former Browns assistant, to lead the Browns. Lerner, on the other hand, is believed to prefer former Browns assistant and former New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini.
Discussions regarding parameters of a deal have now taken place, as Lerner considers Pioli a solid representative of what he believes in -- hard work, intelligence and an ability to interact well as a leader.
If Pioli ultimately decides to take the plunge, sources close to the man in the spotlight assure theOBR Pioli truly wants the Cleveland job. However, he will require several assurances from Lerner that he will indeed lead the football side of the operations.
Prior to the face-to-face meeting between Pioli and Lerner, the Browns' owner was apprehensive about providing near-absolute power to one individual. That being said, Lerner does express an appreciation and belief in Pioli due to his track record and seal of approval from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
As anticipation grows that both parties are working toward an agreement, the finer details could derail this courtship quickly.
If Pioli does not receive the assurances he requires as far as authority -- which includes the selection of his head coach -- a deal between he and the team he holds close to him may not be in the offing.
Whatever direction this process takes, our sources have led us to expect the situation to come to a climax within the next two days - if not sooner.
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