This week reports emerged that Penn State coach Bill O’Brien was strongly considering sitting down for an interview with an NFL team. It turns out that O’Brien hasn’t just considered it, he’s done it.
The Browns interviewed O’Brien this week, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
NFL teams sometimes announce the interviews they’ve conducted, but they’re not required to do so, and in this case the Browns and O’Brien seem to have tried to keep it quiet. That’s no surprise: College coaches generally prefer not to let the high school players they’re recruiting know that they’re considering leaving.
But it would be a surprise if O’Brien weren’t considering leaving. The NCAA sanctions that were handed down at Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal make his team ineligible to play in a bowl, or compete for a Big Ten championship or a national championship, for the next three years. And scholarship reductions make it unlikely that his team will be good enough to compete for a Big Ten or national championship for at least a few more years beyond the school’s bowl ban. O’Brien did excellent work last year under difficult circumstances at Penn State, but that doesn’t mean he wants to put himself through several more years of difficult circumstances.
And so it makes sense that O’Brien is talking to the Browns. And given his impressive track record as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator and his good year as the Nittany Lions’ head coach, it wouldn’t be surprising for the Browns to hire him.