"Pettine is meeting Thursday with the Browns for a third time, sources said. If the meeting goes well and the two sides can work out a contract, then Cleveland will proceed with its plan to hire Pettine, sources said," they wrote.
We'll have to wait until the details are ironed out before anything is finalized, but it appears that the Browns finally have their guy.
We know that Buffalo Bills DC Mike Pettine is a finalist for the Cleveland Browns' vacant head coach job. He will have a third interview with the team on Thursday, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported that there is a second finalist who also will interview in Cleveland on Thursday.
"That unidentified finalist is not Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who was presumed to be the front-runner as the week began," wrote ESPNCleveland.com's Tony Grossi. "The other finalist also is not Greg Schiano. The Browns did interview the fired Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach in Tampa, FL, on Wednesday. But a source confirmed that Schiano, who has a Bill Belichick-to-Mike Lombardi connection, would not be considered for the Browns’ job.
"The other finalist may or may not be Dirk Koetter. The Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator came out of nowhere as a longshot candidate. He was interviewed on Wednesday and reportedly fared well enough to be considered for a second session."
In the end, the other candidate may be Josh McDaniels, who was believed to have removed his name from consideration.
"[A]fter the Patriots were eliminated by the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game, the Patriots have had a turnover of two positions on Belichick’s offensive staff. ESPN Cleveland learned that McDaniels had conversations with the Browns this week. They were not characterized as a formal interview," Grossi added. "The source said that McDaniels expressed renewed interest to be considered. Subsequent reports characterized the conversations as Browns owner Jimmy Haslam reaching out to McDaniels to change his mind. Whatever the extent of the talks, it appeared that McDaniels was not totally back into the mix. But the source wouldn’t rule it out."
Obviously, this situation is packed with smoke and mirrors, so it's very difficult to read between the lines. Hopefully, we'll get a better grip on the situation as Thursday rolls along.