According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com, NFL owners might have Penn State’s head coach Bill O’ Brien on more short lists than expected, including the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.
However, sources say teams that have gauged his interest have been informed by a third party representative that when O’Brien accepted the task of being the late Joe Paterno’s successor, he was told by school officials that the Jerry Sandusky scandal was a criminal matter, not an NCAA concern. That proved to be bad information as Penn State was dealt a four-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions as part of its penalties.
O’Brien could not be reached for comment but the sources emphasized that he would not leave Penn State for just any NFL job.
The former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots was recently named as the Big Ten Coach of the Year in his first season with the Nittany Lions. O’ Brien would be a positive reinforcement for a Browns unit that ranked 27th in total offense in 2012.