The Cleveland Browns’ search for a head coach effectively began Monday morning with the firing of Hue Jackson.
While the hunt will include coaches at the NFL level, the Browns could extend the exploration phase to the college ranks, specifically Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley, who knows a thing or two about Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Riley, however, headed off speculation on his current interest level when asked about the Browns’ current vacancy during a Monday morning press conference.
"Knew that was coming," Riley told reporters, via sports anchor Dylan Buckingham of KFOR. "No, not right now. You sit here and answer these questions, and I always want to be truthful.
"The truth is for me is I love Oklahoma. I love coaching here. I love college football. I certainly don’t have that itch right now. I don’t know that I ever will, but I’m never going to be a guy that’s going to stand up here and say no way, no how with any of these things ever happen. I don’t know that, but I know right now I couldn’t care less about the NFL. We’re trying to win this game and try to make a run that we all think we have in us right now."
Given his current job and employment status, Riley’s response doesn’t come as too much of a surprise.
He’s in the second year of his head coaching job and holds a 19-3 record after Saturday’s 51-14 beat down of Kansas State. The No. 7 Sooners are also 7-1 on the season and in the hunt for a national championship with a game against Texas Tech next on the schedule.
But the "right now" part of the Sooners head coach’s statement doesn’t exactly close the door to future considerations at the next level. And NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero recently reported his understanding that Riley would listen if a call came from an NFL team.
In the meantime, Riley remains in Norman, Oklahoma, while the Browns will press on with Gregg Williams as interim head coach.
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