Most of the New England Patriots rested during the bye week, but offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was as busy as ever.
McDaniels, 37, is a hot name on the NFL’s head-coaching market right now, and the Cleveland Browns have pegged him as a top target for their opening. The Browns reportedly interviewed McDaniels for the job Saturday, and he confirmed as much Monday.
“We met, and that’s about all there is at this point,” McDaniels said during his weekly conference call with the media. “Nothing, nothing further.”
McDaniels already has been a head coach in the NFL, spending a little less than two seasons as the Denver Broncos’ top man. Some of his highlights — or lowlights — in Denver include trading away wide receiver Brandon Marshall and quarterback Jay Cutler, and drafting Tim Tebow in the first round. The Broncos barely missed the playoffs after an 8-8 season in 2009, and they fired McDaniels following a 3-9 start to his second season.
After spending one season as the St. Louis Rams’ offensive coordinator, McDaniels returned to New England as an offensive consultant during the Patriots’ Super Bowl run and eventually retook the reins as offensive coordinator ahead of the 2012 season. While he acknowledges that the opportunity and speculation are “flattering,” McDaniels doesn’t exactly sound like a guy pining to get out of New England, especially with Saturday night’s divisional-round playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts looming.
“I know that’s something that comes up each time this year for other coaches,” McDaniels said. “The opportunities are certainly flattering if they come up. That being said, I am going to try to keep my focus on the Colts and our preparation this week. Like I’ve said in the past, I’m fortunate to have the job I have and I love being here. I love doing what I’m doing. Each opportunity that comes along is a little different, and I’m going to leave it at that and continue to put my effort and attention into the Colts this week.”
While the Browns were given permission to interview McDaniels during the bye week, they aren’t allowed to enter into any contract discussions under NFL rules, meaning neither Cleveland nor any other team can offer him a contract until the Patriots are eliminated from the playoffs.