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The Cleveland Browns had a second interview with Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine on Tuesday evening in Mobile, Ala., site of the Senior Bowl, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Pettine is the first candidate to meet twice with the Browns.
The Associated Press, citing a person familiar with the Browns’ plans, reported that Pettine met with Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam, CEO Joe Banner and other members of the team’s front office for about four hours but was not offered the job.
Pettine first met with Haslam and Banner last Thursday.
The Browns are still considering other candidates, including Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, a league source told Schefter.
Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase reportedly withdrew his name from consideration for the job earlier Tuesday. Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will interview, sources confirmed to ESPN, making him the eighth candidate to interview for the vacancy.
League rules prohibit teams from finalizing deals with assistant coaches whose teams are still in the postseason. So even if the Browns want Quinn, the club can’t discuss a contract until after the Super Bowl.
The Browns are in the fourth week of their search for their seventh full-time coach since 1999.
Pettine just completed his first year with the Bills, and he improved the team’s defense in every statistical category. Though the Bills still struggled against the run, they finished second in the NFL with a franchise-record 57 sacks.
The 47-year-old Pettine spent four seasons as a defensive coordinator under Rex Ryan with the New York Jets before joining the Bills. Pettine also has worked as an assistant in Baltimore.
Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas hopes Pettine stays put. Thomas posted on his Twitter account:
— Thurman Thomas (@thurmanthomas) January 21, 2014
Haslam said last week the team is “prepared to wait as long as necessary” to hire a coach, and the Browns quickly moved ahead without Gase, who enjoys his role with the Broncos and might not be ready for a head-coaching gig.
The Browns are the only team without a head coach and have interviewed at least eight known candidates — the list is still growing — to become their fourth coach in the past six years.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.