Penn State's Bill O'Brien staying put after interviewing with Eagles

Posted: January 05, 2013

It was a brief flirtation, but Bill O'Brien has told Penn State that he is staying after he interviewed with the Eagles and Browns, a source close to the situation said Thursday night.

 O'Brien met with the Eagles on Thursday, a team spokesman confirmed. He met with the Browns earlier this week, an NFL source said.   Whether he seriously considered leaving State College or not, O'Brien was likely able to gain leverage at Penn State.

There is a buyout clause in O'Brien's contract worth $9.2 million - some reports have said the figure is twice as high - if O'Brien were to leave. According to SI.com, Penn State was making a "massive push" to keep the 43-year-old coach from returning to the NFL after reports surfaced that he had met with the Browns.

"I'm not a one-and-done guy," O'Brien told the Harrisburg Patriot-News. "I made a commitment to these players at Penn State, and that's what I am going to do. I'm not going to cut and run after one year, that's for sure."

Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner interviewed O'Brien, an NFL source said. The Eagles' three-man search party - owner Jeffrey Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman, and team president Don Smolenski - made their pitch to O'Brien after the Browns met with him.

The interviews took place at Martha's Vineyard while O'Brien was on vacation, according to reports.

The Eagles and Browns are competing for several of the same head coaching candidates. With O'Brien out of the picture, they will set their sights on Oregon coach Chip Kelly. Both teams have interviews scheduled with Kelly after Thursday's Fiesta Bowl.

The Browns and Bills are scheduled to meet with Kelly Friday. The Eagles are expected to sit down with the 49-year-old coach this weekend.

With Kelly high on their lists, the Eagles and Browns could be headed for a showdown that would pit Lurie and Roseman against their former colleague Banner.

The Eagles group left Atlanta on Thursday after interviewing Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.

Neither Nolan nor Armstrong is considered to be among the Eagles' top choices.

The Eagles were not in Glendale, Ariz., for the Fiesta Bowl, despite a report that said they were, a team spokesman said. Banner was, according to several reports.

He already has interviewed Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, recently fired Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, and Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, according to reports.

But Kelly and O'Brien were the top targets for the Eagles and Browns, league sources have said. Both teams could be poised to pounce immediately. Each one has satisfied the NFL's Rooney Rule by interviewing minority candidates - Armstrong for the Eagles and Horton for the Browns.

Kelly is expected to make his decision sooner rather than later because of college recruiting.

The Eagles confirmed that they will interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Sunday.

McCoy is expected to interview with the Cardinals and Bills on Saturday before meeting with the Eagles and Bears on Sunday. Despite having a jump start on most other NFL assistants who are in the playoffs because of Denver's bye, McCoy said he wasn't penciling himself in for a promotion.

"Until you get that job, don't listen to anybody," McCoy told reporters. "Seriously. Everyone had me penciled in going to Miami last year, and it was a done deal, 'Don't get on a flight, it's your job,' and this and that."

McCoy, 40, interviewed with the Dolphins a year ago, but Joe Philbin got the job. As much as he said he wants to become a head coach, McCoy said he wouldn't accept just any offer.

"If you're going into a new situation, you've got to make sure that it's the right one," he said. "It's not about just taking any job. That's not my goal."

McCoy has had success with a variety of quarterbacks. Jake Delhomme became a Pro Bowler during McCoy's time as the quarterbacks coach in Carolina. When he moved to Denver, he had Kyle Orton playing above his capabilities. The same held true last season when, as offensive coordinator, he devised an offense that catered to the mobile Tim Tebow.

Peyton Manning deserves the lion's share of credit for the Broncos' success this season, but he said Wednesday that McCoy deserved a chance to be a head coach.

"I think he's paid his dues," Manning said. "Mike's a good leader."


Contact Jeff McLane at jmclane@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.

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