The Browns had a two-month head start, which gave them time to talk to plenty of potential head coaches.
Freddie Kitchens was the last one to get a chance, and that was just the way he wanted it.
The new Browns boss told Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America that he was glad he was the final candidate to interview.
“I really was wanting them to have a thorough search,” Kitchens said. “One reason and one reason only: I wanted the organization, and I mean everyone in the room, to think, ‘He’s our guy.’ I didn’t want them to have any doubt. I didn’t want them thinking they wished they’d interviewed other guys. So if I got the job, I got the job because I was the best man. I got it for the right reasons. That’s what impressed me about this process. I didn’t know [General Manager] John Dorsey when I got here a year ago. He didn’t hire one of his friends. He didn’t hire someone to win the press conferences. He hired who he thought was the best coach for his team.
“He saw something in me I was always hoping someone would see—13 years coaching in the NFL, seven years coaching in college, just doing my job, trying to make players better. Nothing else. If nobody ever saw that, I’d have been fine, because I always liked my job.”
Prior to talking to Kitchens, Dorsey had interviewed six other coaches: Browns interim coach Gregg Williams, former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell, Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores, and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.
They also did extensive background on all of them, and in researching Kitchens, talked to former co-workers and players and his mentor — Bill Parcells.
“What are you calling me for?” Parcells told the Browns. “You been around this guy for the last nine months. You know him.”
And being the final candidate in the batting order, Kitchens hopes it creates a relationship that lasts.