CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns will meet with San Francisco coordinator Robert Saleh, whose defense dominated Cleveland this season. He’s the fourth head coaching candidate to interview this week.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and members of the team’s search committee will interview Saleh on Saturday. Thanks in part to Saleh’s swarming defense, the Niners earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC and have a bye this weekend.
Cleveland began interviews on Thursday, when the Browns met with former Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy at their headquarters and then traveled to Baltimore to talk with Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman. On Friday, Haslam and his group interviewed Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
The Browns have also scheduled interviews with Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, who nearly got Cleveland’s job a year ago.
The 40-year-old Saleh has been coach Kyle Shanahan’s coordinator the past three seasons. San Francisco ranked among NFL leaders in nearly every statistical category this season. The 49ers were second in total defense and first against the pass.
Against the Browns in October, San Francisco’s defensive front overwhelmed Cleveland’s line and sacked quarterback Baker Mayfield four times. The Niners had Mayfield scrambling all game and they intercepted him twice.
Before going to San Francisco, Saleh was an assistant in Carolina. He won a Super Bowl on Seattle’s staff in 2013.
The Browns fired Freddie Kitchens after losing to Cincinnati last week and finishing 6-10. Haslam is looking for his sixth coach since buying the franchise in 2012.