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In 2006, Browns had Jim Brown reach out to Jim Tressel

File image of Ohio State head coach Tressel and quarterback Pryor celebrate after beating Oregon in the 96th Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena Reuters

Here’s a strange story from the “What might have been?” department: Jim Tressel, the recently departed Ohio State head coach, could have left Ohio State five years ago to coach the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Jim Brown, who was an executive adviser to Browns owner Randy Lerner, contacted someone close to Tressel to gauge his interest in coaching the Browns in 2006.

Tressel apparently wasn’t interested, and it’s not clear whether the Browns were ready to offer him the job or just wanted to see if he might be interested, but it’s fascinating to consider what might have been different if Tressel had coached the Browns.

Would Tressel have been a successful NFL coach, like Jimmy Johnson? Or would he have failed miserably and quickly gone back to the NCAA with his tail between his legs, like Bobby Petrino?

And would Ohio State be in the same mess it’s in now if another man had coached the team the last five years? Or would some other coach have achieved the same level of on-field success for the Buckeyes, without the off-field scandal?

We’ll never know. And it’s probably safe to say Tressel will never again have the opportunity to rebuff an NFL owner’s advances.

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22 Responses to “In 2006, Browns had Jim Brown reach out to Jim Tressel”
  1. pooponurface says: Jun 12, 2011 11:08 AM

    “We’ll never know. And it’s probably safe to say Tressel will never again have the opportunity to rebuff an NFL owner’s advances.”

    I seriously doubt the NCAA infractions are enough to scare away an NFL owner desperate for a coach. Pro football teams don’t care about stupid NCAA regulations.

  2. broncobourque says: Jun 12, 2011 11:15 AM

    I don’t know that his problems in college will affect his ability to get a job in the NFL. If anything I think he might push him to look to the NFL for his next job because he is going to have trouble finding another division 1 school to give him a job.

    He may have lost some credibility with the recent scandals but I think his approach could work in the NFL better than some of the past failed NCAA coaches. He isn’t so much a raw-raw guy as he is an accountability and discipline guy and that works in the NFL just as well as it does in college.

  3. howiefeltersnatch says: Jun 12, 2011 11:23 AM

    Reading this mess just makes me all the more thankful we have Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert running the show now.

    Jim Brown calling Jim Tressel to see about coaching the Cleveland Browns. One year after Romeo was hired. Oy vey.

  4. jarobinewsome says: Jun 12, 2011 11:24 AM

    NOT INTERESTED???…Looks like Tressel was already coaching a PRO team at O$U…

  5. dave1961 says: Jun 12, 2011 11:58 AM

    This article has absolutely no value for Browns fans whatsoever… it is written by a doom and gloom nay sayer that keeps trying to peddle negativity on everything about the Browns as of late…. The author is the only writer that has a negative view of the big draft trade of the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons.

    There is however a greater storyline that Pro Football Talk has missed coming out of Cleveland Ohio. It is the young talent being brought in like the current off the great shores of Lake Erie.

    President Mike Holmgren has ushered in a new era and changed philosphy of how to build the Cleveland Browns into a contender. His first move was getting a GM lik Heckert that also bought into this, and is building your team through the draft and not through failed crops of free agents. Grossi refers to this as collecting bodies, but it actually stocking the cupboards with young talent so they are never bare.

    Teams like Green Bay, Pittsburgh, New England, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta, KC , San Diego, Tampa Bay and the Jets use the draft and it translates into a winning formula on Sundays. It is a core belief now in Cleveland, Ohio that to win we must produce own stars through the draft.

    Yes you can sprinkle a free agent or two a year on the cake like icing, but you can not build a team on the garbage other teams throw away. The big stars become cap killers and squeeze off the young talent you get through draft building. Washington is a prime disaster of trying to build a team with another team’s disguarded talent and it hasn’t worked yet.

    Cleveland has finally ushered in a ray of bright hope and removed the dark clouds of coaches and gms who did not understand how to build a winning program. Fans are truly hopeful that Randy Lerner finally got his credible leader in Mike Holmgren. Stay tuned to see if Cindrella steps in with a glass slipper and delivers Cleveland as a contender shortly.

    Hopefully, the writers will join with the fans to make Cleveland an exciting place to be again. Only time will tell if those peddling the negative vibes will ditch that ride and get on the new train of contenders that are building a winner and getting our teams on track.

    Cleveland is the home of the best fans in the world and players can ask two people… Josh Cribbs, where fans put up billboards saying pay the man… and Peyton Hillis who fans took from the Broncos bench and put him on the Cover of Madden… hows that for turning a 1st round bust into a awesome talent…. Go Browns!

  6. marjax says: Jun 12, 2011 12:05 PM

    “Would Tressel have been a successful NFL coach, like Jimmy Johnson? Or would he have failed miserably and quickly gone back to the NCAA with his tail between his legs, like Bobby Petrino?”

    It’s the Browns. I’d bank on the latter.

  7. pete611 says: Jun 12, 2011 12:11 PM

    It would have never worked out. There is after all a salary cap in the NFL.

  8. dogsweat1 says: Jun 12, 2011 12:44 PM

    Jim Tressal will be interested in Michigan very soon..

  9. mackie66 says: Jun 12, 2011 12:47 PM

    If ever an article needed NOT to be printed, its this one. EEEgads. What if the sky falls tomorrow at high noon and the secret, not secret meetings between the NFL and NFLPA* never, ever again are held? Then Tressell will never again get a coaching job with anyone,,,no one. Its over, no sun, no sky, no honey dues. Its hot in So Fla think Ill take a nap.

  10. mdnittlion says: Jun 12, 2011 12:55 PM

    @ marjax

    I couldn’t have said it better myself

  11. indycolt45 says: Jun 12, 2011 12:58 PM

    Cool story, bro.

  12. george3246 says: Jun 12, 2011 3:23 PM

    @dave

    Excellent post. Although I’ve bled B&G all of my life, my sentiments are completely in favor of the Browns regaining the internal strength and stability that its original franchise had before the weasel, Modell, stole Cleveland’s treasure and pride. To a point at which they displace the Ravens as perpetual runners up to my Steelers, of course.

    This should be the Browns’ first goal. Then, we can resume the wondrous rivalry that our cities once had. Fans of my generation loved watching Jim Brown, the greatest ever, bash and being bashed by the tough but losing teams that personified the Steelers of the ’50s & 60’s. Take heart, Bfans, we put up with losing just as long as you have.

  13. thetooloftools says: Jun 12, 2011 3:35 PM

    dave1961 – I live in Cleveland. Can I have a sip of whatever your drinking because your trying to spit shine a turd.

  14. couldntthinkofaname says: Jun 12, 2011 4:20 PM

    Cleveland is the home of the best fans in the world and players can ask two people… Josh Cribbs, where fans put up billboards saying pay the man…
    _________________________________

    Homerf**kland is the home of the worst fans in the world. All you people do is run down other fan bases as frontrunners, whine and cry for Ohio State players to be drafted, cheer QBs like Anderson and Couch getting injured (while worshiping a stiff like Quinn), whine about Modell, throw bottles onto the field, run your coaches out of town every two or three years, burn LeBron jerseys, and start threads on how none of you studs would “hit” Mary Kay Cabot’s stuff (like any of you would have a shot).

    You HAVE to build through the draft. No free agent wants to come here unless you massively overpay them. I can’t wait for Joe Thomas to become an unrestricted free agent–I hope they don’t bring back the franchise tag just for that reason.

    Good luck with the whole OSU thing. I know you’re all defending that corrupt coach you love so much, Tressel. Yeah, it’s all Pryor’s fault–even though this stuff goes back to 2002 and involves something like 28 players.

    Yeah, best fans in the world. Right.

  15. oldbrowndawg says: Jun 12, 2011 4:58 PM

    @ Dave

    As a longtime Browns fan (since 1962), I agree with you as to H&H (Holmgren and Heckert) and also as to the eternal pessimist Grossi who once wrote “I’m a fan of the city, not of its teams.” That was strike 5 in my book. I rarely read his drivel anymore. Jim Brown was obviously sent to talk to Tressel by Randy Lerner — a slow learner if I ever saw one! Thank God Lerner finally realized that he knew zilch about pro football, hired Holmgren, and gave him the keys to the entire operation, much in the way Rooney did with Chuck Noll in Pittsburgh in 1968. I firmly believe H&H have the Browns pointed in the right direction, despite what the eternal Cleveland naysayers like thetooloftools and couldntthinkofaname constantly belch forth. It will take two more years of genuine rebuilding under H&H to right this ship (versus the endless nonsense of Botch Davis, out-of-touch Romeo Crennel, and Opie the wannabe Savage). Remember: The Browns will be mean in 2013. Keep the faith, partner.

  16. acerockefellar says: Jun 12, 2011 5:55 PM

    lol the browns suck

  17. george3246 says: Jun 12, 2011 6:37 PM

    Oops! I forgot the punchline. Now that the B&G are at the pinnacle of NFL success, we are also the model and target of the wannabes. All teams should note that Pittsburgh and Green Bay are small markets and the Rooney’s are doing just fine. Oh, so are the GB fans that own the team and isn’t that pseudo-socialism that is working great?

    It is time for the fans to side with the players. That is, unless Jerry and the rest of the greedy owners want to hit the fields themselves. the players, without whom there would be no NFL of today, the past and the future, always were and will be the “product” of this business called NFL.

    Players bear all of the risk of life, limb and future. Owners have a $making machine and are trying to void previous player advantages for personal gain or power move (ego trip) contrary to the long range benefit of the NFL.

  18. commandercornpone says: Jun 12, 2011 7:57 PM

    seattle hired a crooked college coach. someone else may hire tressel.

  19. dave1961 says: Jun 12, 2011 8:21 PM

    Tool of tools…. your one of those front runner fans of Miami and Baltimore that steal other cities titles right?

    I bet youre a Baltimore fan that climbed out from under a rock when the easel Art Model took 50 million to give you Cleveland’s Superbowl.

    You can call Cleveland fans anything you like, but facts are facts. We stood up and got our football team back without stealing someone elses. How’s that left hook feel dude? Cleveland fans never quit on their team… I’m out and you’re a front runner fan… that everyone knows.

  20. johntaylor says: Jun 12, 2011 8:44 PM

    Im a d-bag

  21. voyager6 says: Jun 12, 2011 10:28 PM

    I’d take Tressel in Cincy. Anyone would be better at game management than Marvin Lewis.

  22. kevinfromphilly says: Jun 13, 2011 7:57 AM

    Tressel didn’t leave because OSU paid their players better.

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