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A source with knowledge of the situation tells us that the Browns have approached former Steelers coach Bill Cowher regarding the possibility of becoming the next coach in Cleveland.
Per the source, the Browns are willing to give Cowher a contract worth $8 million to $9 million per year.
Presumably, Cowher’s arrival would occur only if G.M. Phil Savage were fired or significantly marginalized.  (Maybe Savage can go work for the Bills — or if all else fails he can root for them.)  Cowher would want final say over personnel, and Cowher would want to install one or more of his former Steelers colleagues into key positions.
Likely candidates, if they can finagle a path out of Pittsburgh, would be director of football operations Kevin Colbert and/or director of business operations Omar Khan.
Cowher played for the Browns (i.e., Ravens) from 1980 through 1982, and he served as special teams coach in 1985 and 1986.  He was moved to defensive backs coach in 1987, and he remained in that position through 1988.

Permalink 53 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rumor Mill
  1. Jaylaw344 says: Nov 20, 2008 5:02 PM

    All hail the mighty chin!!

  2. RobJH says: Nov 20, 2008 5:05 PM

    What’s the impact of the Rooney Rule here? I mean, it shouldn’t exist in the first place, but how ironic is it that the rule named after the Steelers owner would be a speedbump to their former coach getting another job?

  3. mekono says: Nov 20, 2008 5:07 PM

    Will Bill be looking for a gig at the end of the year? Has he said he will coach in ’09? Will Cleveland be the one that acts and acts first?
    If he wants to coach he will have some choices. I will wait to hear it from him.

  4. Roethlischoker says: Nov 20, 2008 5:09 PM

    Great Brownies!! Go get him. Bring him on. The Steelers will bend in the chin and whip this fool too. Nothing can save Cleveland–doom on you Brownies!!

  5. Joe in Raleigh says: Nov 20, 2008 5:13 PM

    I don’t know what you mean by “i.e. Ravens” but Cowher played for the Browns. Cleveland retained their history when Modell moved to Baltimore. Any suggestion otherwise is incorrect (i.e. stupid).

  6. Vox Veritas says: Nov 20, 2008 5:21 PM

    Browns are waiting on Cowher, but Cowher wants to coach the Cowboys

  7. NoWearMan says: Nov 20, 2008 5:21 PM

    i.e. ravens? cowher was never part of the “ravens” organization. pathetic attempt at a cheap shot, mike.
    it would be nice if phil were willing to take a demotion, and perhaps me might, but i doubt it. cya savage.

  8. Pipes says: Nov 20, 2008 5:22 PM

    Why would Colbert/Khan WANT to leave Pittsburgh for Cleveland?

  9. JimnBigD says: Nov 20, 2008 5:23 PM

    They better pay Colbert a boat load of money to leave Pittsburgh. Why else would he want to leave his hometown to actually have less say over personnel and on a lousy team at that?

  10. TheNaturalMevs says: Nov 20, 2008 5:23 PM

    If this is true, and I have my doubts, you have to hand it to the Cleveland brass. Starting Quinn was their call (not Savage, not Crennel). They go after Cowher; a Cleveland fan can NEVER complain again.

  11. WheresSeptien says: Nov 20, 2008 5:23 PM

    He isnt going to the Browns. Jerry Jones will relinquish his GM role and bring Cowher to Dallas. That new stadium is going to need some presence and the Cowher will bring that. (I can dream right)

  12. Bubby Brister says: Nov 20, 2008 5:27 PM

    You know, Cowher going to coach the Browns makes me cringe a little bit, but it’s something I could get over. Taking Kevin Colbert with him is completely different another story. The Steelers were heading towards a downswing in the late 90’s and he’s the key reason they didn’t stay that way. This article left me sick to my stomach.

  13. MikeWatty says: Nov 20, 2008 5:30 PM

    I hear he’s Philadelphia bound….

  14. giant67 says: Nov 20, 2008 5:37 PM

    If I was Savage and I was able to save my own hide, I’d go out and get Russ Grimm from Arizona — I’d be getting a guy who wants to stick it to the Steelers, a guy who will bring the style of play you need in the division, and a guy from the Cowher Tree all at the same time, and I’d be able to keep power too.

  15. bofarr says: Nov 20, 2008 5:42 PM

    The Rooney rule is a joke. They’ll interview some schmoe who knows he has no shot and then hire the Chin. Or worse, they won’t be able to get anyone to interview because it’s a done deal and the league will fine them $500,000 but any Cleveland fan would tell you it was worth it to have competent head coach and front office.

  16. ppdoc says: Nov 20, 2008 5:42 PM

    How many coaches have coached a superbowl winner and then went on to coach another superbowl winner? Look at history. The Clowns don’t want The Chin. He’ll NEVER win them a SB. But then again, may they want to continue to be mired in the mediocrity that is the Cleveland Browns.

  17. jmclarkent says: Nov 20, 2008 5:42 PM

    …and they wonder why it’s hurts to be a Raiders fan. The Browns are linked to Bill Cowher, the Raiders are linked to Jim Fassell, Dennis “They are who we thought they are!” Green and Jim Harbaugh…
    …yay ; ;

  18. Umdayo says: Nov 20, 2008 5:43 PM

    Cowher WILL go to the Browns. He has sat on the sidelines long enough. The “urge” has returned, and before long the “Stillers” will regret not having opened the purse strings and paid the “Chin.”
    Of course there is still the line of thought that says Coach Chin was dallying with a little filly, and mama found out, and that ultimately led to his exit – but that has never really been proved.
    Still, time for him to return, and return he will, to the chagrin of all the Rooneys – or whomever ends up owning and/or running the Steelers.

  19. VernonK says: Nov 20, 2008 5:49 PM

    Now, if the Eagles want to fire Andy Reid then they need to pursue Cowher. His gritty personality would fit right in with Philly. I think that’s really the one thing that drives fans nuts about Big Red and Dmac. Same reason Garcia had such a nice time towards the end. Philly fans like grit and fight and enthusiasm. Big Red and #5 both tend to come off as nonchalant which makes it seem (to a lot of fans that is) like they don’t really care.

  20. ChazzMichaelMichaels says: Nov 20, 2008 5:53 PM

    This is a great hire if your goal is to lose multiple AFC championship games.

  21. ampats says: Nov 20, 2008 5:53 PM

    In a related story, RAC was seen in Foxboro looking for houses.

  22. Frank Burns says: Nov 20, 2008 5:57 PM

    Considering that Big Ben has set a record for 4th quarter comeback wins, I’d say “Roethlischoker” is a pretty dumb handle.

  23. peacesignmoose says: Nov 20, 2008 5:59 PM

    Please, please, please hire Cowher, Cleveland! New England needs their Defensive Coordinator back.

  24. mneezy1 says: Nov 20, 2008 6:00 PM

    “i.e. Ravens?”
    Florio, you certainly are a class act.

  25. Dan W says: Nov 20, 2008 6:06 PM

    As a Browns fan, I can only hope that this comes true. I’d love to see what Cowher could get out of this team. But I’d like to hear him say something about it before we get up in arms about anything. I wonder what Phil Savage thinks about all this. He’s probably sending one of his riveting e-mails to Cowher right now…

  26. DavidInTexas says: Nov 20, 2008 6:23 PM

    Savage just sealed his fate. Now, he can stand in the soup line with everyone else.
    No cuts…

  27. PGHDON says: Nov 20, 2008 6:24 PM

    When pigs fly out of my ass!

  28. homerunharris says: Nov 20, 2008 6:26 PM

    Cleveland fans love to fire coaches. What if the Browns go 5-1 in the next 6 games and finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs? Do you fire the coach and GM? The Browns don’t have the players on defense to win. They are still building. Look at the Houston Texans. Just like the Browns expansion team, they are still bluiding. Tony Grossi from the PD complained about “The Hoodie” when he was here in Cleveland and now after all of New England’s Super Bowl appearences, Grossi says he has changed. Belichick has not changed! The only difference between Belichick in Cleveland and Belichick in New England is that he has players in New England. The Browns have an offense, they need a defense and they need time.

  29. CaptainFantastik says: Nov 20, 2008 6:27 PM

    He can have Bruce Arians as OC if he wants. Being as magnanimous as we are in Steeler Country…..we’re willing to give up OC just for the Browns fans. They can have Cowher and his run-run-pass-punt style of football as well.

  30. Steel585975 says: Nov 20, 2008 6:38 PM

    Jim Donovan, WKYC, Channel 3 Cleveland, NBC affiliate, said today, “, kind of a gossipy football website, is saying that a source close to the situation says that the Browns have made contact…” Woo, chalk one up for Florio with the Browns world!

  31. east96st says: Nov 20, 2008 6:39 PM

    Unless the Cowboys pull off an amazing comeback and win the Super Bowl, I have to believe that Jerry Jones will offer Cowher even more money than that.

  32. clangille says: Nov 20, 2008 7:04 PM

    People are so fascinated with Bill Cowher. WHy? It took him 15 years to get a ring. Any coach could eventually win a ring if they were with the same team for 15 years. Besides, there isn’t a coach in the world worth 8 million dollars per year. Players win the games.

  33. Bmore Styles says: Nov 20, 2008 7:13 PM

    Cowher played for the “Browns (i.e. Ravens)” as much as Peyton Manning plays for the Colts (i.e. Baltimore Colts).

  34. CaptainFantastik says: Nov 20, 2008 7:17 PM

    He may not have gotten a ring until the end…….but his teams were ALWAYS in the hunt. His record as a head coach speaks for itself. It’s not all about getting a ring. The players have to play…a coach can only do so much. And if it weren’t for Niel O’Donnell’s INT’s he’d likely have two rings.
    But Cowher won’t be able to help Cleveland. They have a terrible organization from top to bottom. Organizations win championships. Giants, Patriots, Colts, Steelers…….it’s no accident that these teams have been the most recent Super Bowl winners.

  35. freedomispopular says: Nov 20, 2008 7:28 PM

    Well, clangille, I guess in that case teams would never have to fire their coaches, if all the wins are a direct result of the players…

  36. momar3000 says: Nov 20, 2008 7:35 PM

    Thank you Joe in Raleigh, I was gonna say the same thing just with lots more #$@@’s and &^%$#’s. We don’t have or want the Brown’s history……but we will be keeping Ozzie.

  37. cowherbrowns09 says: Nov 20, 2008 8:01 PM

    Steelers are on the “down”. Now is the time to throw the bank at Cowher and give him the power too.

  38. cowherbrowns09 says: Nov 20, 2008 8:03 PM

    Who would want to coach for Human Plastic Surgery Icon in Dallas?

  39. thepatriotsneverhold says: Nov 20, 2008 8:27 PM

    Why would Colbert leave the Steelers to work for the browns? I don’t see it. Would they double his salary? pffft.

  40. thepatriotsneverhold says: Nov 20, 2008 8:38 PM

    There was reason enough for the “” website. If it weren’t for the inspiration of Bettis’s home\retirement SB Cowher never would have gotten a ring with the 6th seed playoff team.

  41. trixstal says: Nov 20, 2008 9:08 PM

    Good! Now Romeo can go back to New England where he belongs. Welcome home, Romeo!! We’ve missed you badly!!

  42. r5156c says: Nov 20, 2008 9:33 PM

    We need a strong Chin in Chicago.

  43. jyernberg says: Nov 20, 2008 10:01 PM

    take that vikings fans!

  44. spyboots says: Nov 20, 2008 11:59 PM

    @ ChazzMichaelMichaels says: This is a great hire if your goal is to lose multiple AFC championship games.
    Only if the Pats are still videotaping the AFCC games.

  45. spyboots says: Nov 21, 2008 12:02 AM

    @ homerunharris says: Belichick has not changed! The only difference between Belichick in Cleveland and Belichick in New England is that he has players in New England.
    And spycameras and videotape.

  46. east96st says: Nov 21, 2008 12:07 AM

    cowherbrowns09 says:
    “Who would want to coach for Human Plastic Surgery Icon in Dallas?”
    Jones is an ass, but he’s got a fat wallet and his checks always clear. If he throws more money at Cowher, would you really blame him if he took the cash and laughed all the way to the bank? You know Jones would have NO problem making him the highest paid coach in the NFL. If Jones gave Garrett $3 mill, the sky’s the limit for Cowher.

  47. Bradybunch says: Nov 21, 2008 12:40 AM

    Cowher wouldn’t have absolute final say in Dallas.

  48. playmaker says: Nov 21, 2008 1:00 AM

    cowher belongs in philly, he’s made for that city, cowher
    would become more legendary than rocky, the chin in philly
    is a perfect match, mcnabb could even grow some balls working
    with the coach chin.

  49. Rafterman says: Nov 21, 2008 1:42 AM

    “Of course there is still the line of thought that says Coach Chin was dallying with a little filly, and mama found out, and that ultimately led to his exit – but that has never really been proved.”
    Yeah, I remember when all of that was going down. Rumors were flying
    that he shagged an Administrative Assistant in the Steelers front office. In fact she was named on a few web sites.
    The local media steered clear of most of it but I remember ESPN alluding to some of it.
    That would go a long in explaining why the Rooney’s never met his monetary demands.

  50. If its Brown flush it down says: Nov 21, 2008 12:23 PM

    If I have to suffer through watching that crazy big chin and ridiculous scowl dominate my beloved Bengals with two different teams….well, I may just go berserk.

  51. STEVEDUDE007 says: Nov 23, 2008 3:28 PM

    Dear Friends,
    I have just read and signed the online petition:
    “’s Bring Bill Cowher to Cleveland”
    hosted on the web by, the free online petition
    service, at:
    I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might
    agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider
    signing yourself.
    Best wishes,

  52. Robert Ciekanski says: Nov 24, 2008 3:00 PM

    When the head coach of our (my) football team Has no idea what the problem is nor how to fix it, who does? I have been a lifelong Browns fan, the sad part is, my son was a Miami fan, I have converted him, my youngest was a Dallas fan, I converted him too. I guess I did that so that I can have someone to share in my dismay. Please Please Please Bill Cowher is our man. Bring out some of that mouldy money and get us a real head coach and let him run the team. I bet Bill never admitted to the media that he had no idea how to fix it. I evan know how to fix it, BILL COWHER.

  53. kash says: Nov 26, 2008 3:34 PM

    Ugh is all I can say. I want the chin back in the ‘burgh!!! If not in the ‘burgh he needs to become the San Diego Chargers new coach. They are really in need and it’s a much nicer place to live!!!!

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