CLEVELAND — As the Cleveland Browns' schedule fills up with interviews for their upcoming coaching search, one potential candidate has declined to participate.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Baylor head coach Matt Rhule has declined an interview invitation from the Browns, but will remain a leading candidate for both the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers' head coaching vacancies.
Despite having spent the bulk of his coaching career in the college ranks, Rhule has recently been considered an attractive candidate to make the jump to the pro level. Last offseason, he was a candidate for the New York Jets' head coaching opening, which was ultimately filled by Adam Gase.
The 44-year-old has been responsible for two of the more impressive college football turnarounds in recent memory.
In four seasons at Temple (2013-2016), he amassed a 28-23 record, including a pair of 10-win seasons in 2015 and 2016. Taking over a Baylor program marred in controversy, it took two years for Rhule to take the Bears from one win in 2017 to an 11-2 record and Big 12 Championship Game appearance. On Wednesday, Baylor will face Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
That Rhule would turn down an offer to interview with the Browns could be telling in regards to how attractive Cleveland's head coaching vacancy is considered to be. Nevertheless, even without Rhule, it appears the Browns will have no shortage of candidates to choose from with the team having already been linked to New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll since firing Freddie Kitchens' following the conclusion of its 6-10 season in 2019.