Cleveland Browns Got Advice from Bill Parcells—but Did They Want More?

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterFebruary 12, 2014

AP Images

Bill Parcells is in the Hall of Fame. There have been few in NFL history who were smarter, more talented and better at turning around struggling franchises.    

So it's no wonder that the Cleveland Browns recently sought out Parcells. But what exactly they talked about depends on whom you speak to.

Several sources with knowledge of the situation said owner Jimmy Haslam wanted Parcells to run the team.

Parcells told Bleacher Report that he spoke to the Browns, but no job offer was made.

Parcells explained in an e-mail that he talked to the Browns "only about how I believe organizations succeed and others fail."

This is an interesting twist, to say the least, in a story of many interesting twists. It's smart of the Browns to seek out advice of a legendary figure that took struggling franchises to Super Bowls. Yet, it certainly seems like the team wasn't interested in Parcells for just his advice. It seems like the team wanted Parcells to be a part of the Browns in some capacity, and he said no.

A Browns spokesman declined to comment.

Parcells met extensively with Haslam, I'm told, in South Florida. The Browns recently blew up their franchise, firing the head coach and the front office of CEO Joe Banner and general manager Mike Lombardi. Ray Farmer was named the general manager in Lombardi's place.

Dec 15, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, left, talks with quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) before a game against the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

I'm told Haslam saw Parcells as a way for the Browns to regain the credibility lost from the recent string of embarrassing moves the team has made.

The problem with possibly pursuing Parcells is that he's 72 years old and clearly done with football.

But it would have still been an interesting coup. While Parcells had his faults, few in league history were better at transforming a sorry franchise into a championship contender. He did it as coach of the Giants in the 1980s and again with the New England Patriots in the 1990s. He also took the New York Jets to the AFC title game.

The Jets were one of the better examples of the power of Parcells. The team had gone 1-15 the season before and then 9-7 in Parcells' first year. They made the postseason the year after that. It was classic Parcells.

Parcells won't be part of the Browns, but they likely wanted him. Now, it's up to Farmer.

Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.