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.