The Browns went without a head coach for three and a half weeks before they finally settled on today’s hiring of Mike Pettine, and “settled” is the operative word: It’s widely believed that the Browns arrived at Pettine only after candidates they liked better turned them down.
But Pettine says he doesn’t care about all that.
“Much has been made about the number of candidates that have been interviewed,” Pettine said. “That doesn’t factor into my thinking at all. I wasn’t going to be like, ‘Well, if I’m not the first choice then I’m not gonna take it.’ It’s been my lifelong dream to be an NFL head coach. Sometimes the cockiness of a coach, but I’ll bet on myself. I didn’t want to back away from a job because of lack of perceived security.”
The Browns, who have gone either 4-12 or 5-11 in each of the last six seasons, have been a consistently bad team, and it’s not surprising that some coaches don’t see Cleveland as a good place to land. Now Pettine’s challenge is to change perceptions, both of himself as a second choice, and of the Browns as a second-rate franchise.