So here’s an interesting twist on the old coach-search saga: Bruce Arians, the two-time coach of the year and one of the more popular men to walk the sidelines in this generation, has said the only team that could lure him out of retirement would be … the Cleveland Browns?
Arians, who retired last year, was in Cleveland Sunday for the Browns-Chiefs game broadcast, and a Canton Republic sportswriter asked him if he’d ever consider coming out of retirement. “Cleveland is the only job I would consider,” he said, and given the current state of coaching in Cleveland, those eight words are surely enough to get his agent’s phone lighting up.
Arians’ connection to Cleveland
Arians retired with a career head coaching record of 49-30-1, coaching for a portion of one year in Indianapolis and five in Arizona. He took two teams to the playoffs, winning one game after the 2015 season. He has a history with Cleveland, having served as offensive coordinator for three years from 2001-03. Arians was the OC during Cleveland’s lone playoff appearance in its expansion era, after the 2002 season; the Browns lost to Pittsburgh 36-33.
Of note: Arians had high praise for Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield before the draft. “I like Baker,” Arians said in January. “His enthusiasm, because it’s real, not false. Got to curb it a little, maybe, but maybe not. Guys respect ‘real’ in the locker room. If that’s who you really are, they’ll follow you.”
And who knows? Maybe Mayfield will be following Arians before long.
Bruce Arians throughout his head coaching career
Bruce Arians throughout his head coaching career
Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians talks about head coach Chuck Pagano, who has been diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia, during an NFL football news conference at the team's headquarters in Indianapolis, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians looks over the plays during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians questions a call during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Indianapolis Colts former interim head coach and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians listens as head coach Chuck Pagano speaks during a news conference Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, in Indianapolis. Pagano returns to the team after undergoing successful leukemia treatment. Arians coached the team while Pagano was on leave. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, right, watches during the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Indianapolis. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, left, looks on. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Arizona Cardinals new head coach Bruce Arians speaks to the media after he was introduced during an NFL football news conference at the team's training facility Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Bruce Arians, formerly with the Indianapolis Colts and now with the Arizona Cardinals, accepts the AP Coach of the Year award at the 2nd Annual NFL Honors on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 in New Orleans. (Photo by AJ Mast/Invision/AP)
Arizona Cardinals new quarterback Carson Palmer, right, and head coach Bruce Arians speak to the media during an NFL football news conference, Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at the teams' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians makes a play call during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Houston Texans, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, right, hugs Cardinals team president Michael Bidwill, left, as they celebrate after an NFL football game win over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Bruce Arians, head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, accepts the AP Coach of the Year award, presented by Lenovo, on stage at the 4th annual NFL Honors at the Phoenix Convention Center Symphony Hall on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2015. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision for NFL/AP Images)
Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald talks with head coach Bruce Arians during team workouts, Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera talks to Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians before the NFL football NFC Championship game Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, left, and general manager Steve Keim discuss the upcoming NFL football draft, Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2015, file photo, Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians speaks during a news conference in Tempe, Ariz. NFL Films was embedded with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015 season. The result is ``All or Nothing,’’ an eight-part series that debuts Friday on Amazon. At the center of it all is Arians, one of the best coaches in professional football and certainly among its most colorful. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, left, greets Chicago Bears head coach John Fox after an preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Bears won 24-23. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians speaks during a press conference before an NFL training session at the London Irish rugby team training ground in the Sunbury-onThames suburb of south west London, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. The Arizona Cardinals are preparing for an NFL regular season game against the Los Angeles Rams in London on Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) stands with head coach Bruce Arians, right during warmups before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)