Browns close to deal with Kelly

Published 6:13pm Saturday, January 5, 2013

CLEVELAND — Chip Kelly is closer to taking his fast-paced offense to the NFL.

A person familiar with the negotiations said the Cleveland Browns are nearing a deal with Oregon’s offensive mastermind to be their next coach.

The Browns interviewed Kelly on Friday and the Oregon coach also is scheduled to meet with the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills in Arizona. However, a person familiar with the interviews said the Eagles are “heading in another direction” because Kelly is nearing a deal with Cleveland.

That person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team isn’t discussing its negotiations publicly, said the Eagles planned to interview several other candidates regardless of any conversations with Kelly. The Eagles were granted permission Friday to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and plans to meet Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy today.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported late Friday night that the Browns and Kelly met for seven hours. He said Kelly still intends to meet with the Bills on Friday, and with the Eagles some time Saturday. The Browns are “favored,” Mortensen reported.

The Browns, who made their last playoff appearance 10 years ago on Saturday, have declined to comment on any interviews during their coaching search.