Browns safety T.J. Ward quickly rattled off some of Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s best qualities – motivated, dedicated, focused, respectful, demanding.
As far as Ward’s concerned, Kelly, his former coach with the Ducks, is ready to make the leap from college to the pros.
And maybe even land in Cleveland.
Kelly, whose up-tempo, quick-strike offense has captured the imagination of other NFL teams, appears to be near the top of Cleveland’s list of candidates to replace Pat Shurmur, fired earlier this week after going 9-23 in two seasons.
According to several reports, Browns CEO Joe Banner is in Arizona and intends to interview Kelly, who is preparing the fifth-ranked Ducks for tonight’s Fiesta Bowl against Kansas State.
Kelly has been deflecting questions about his future all week. He did so again on Wednesday when he was asked if he expected to be contacted by NFL teams in the days ahead.
“I don’t expect anything,” he said. “I said this a million times. I’m never surprised by anything. I do not know what the future holds. I do know we have a football game tomorrow night and I’m going to be there.”
Around the league
The Cardinals have completed an extensive interview that spread over two days with defensive coordinator Ray Horton in the search for a replacement for fired coach Ken Whisenhunt. Next up is Andy Reid, the longtime Philadelphia Eagles coach. Reid’s interview, while not formally scheduled, could come today. … Falcons coach Mike Smith says offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has signed a contract extension to stay with the team through next season. … LB London Fletcher and LG Kory Lichtensteiger, both with sprained left ankles, were spectators as the Redskins began their first practice for the playoffs against the Seahawks on Sunday