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Neuheisel won't rule out Browns

Associated Press Published: January 15, 2001 12:00 AM

SEATTLE - Rick Neuheisel, coach of the Rose Bowl champion Washington Huskies, said he wouldn't rule out talking to the Cleveland Browns about their coaching job if they contacted him."There have been some overtures made to people that I know about whether there would be any interest," Neuheisel told The News Tribune of Tacoma at the Washington men's basketball game Saturday night."There has been no direct contact with me, and until there is, there is no need to say yea or nay," he said. "But I am very happy at Washington. My plan is to be at Washington."The Browns have been looking for a coach since Chris Palmer was fired Thursday.Browns president Carmen Policy, who is out of town for a week on business with team owner Al Lerner, said Browns defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will be interviewed for the job.Among the other possible candidates are New Orleans offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy, Giants offensive coordinator Sean Payton and Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, who worked for the Policy in San Francisco and previously interviewed for the Browns job.Bob Stoops, coach of national champion Oklahoma, also was mentioned as a candidate, but he said Saturday he planned to stay with the Sooners.Neuheisel, 39, has three years left on a four-year contract that pays him $897,000 per year, and can reach $997,000 per year with incentives. He said he would discourage Cleveland officials from calling him directly, but he would not rule out talking to the Browns.He said that decision is based in part on the last time he was rumored to be a candidate for a head coaching position. Neuheisel took the Washington job in January 1999 after publicly saying he planned to stay at Colorado.He said he believes his reputation suffered from that."I'm careful to never say never because you never know what people's plans are," said Neuheisel, whose team finished 11-1 this season, ranked No. 3.Neuheisel said the Browns coaching job looks promising because of the chance to work with Policy, who helped build the San Francisco 49ers into one of the NFL's dominant teams a decade ago.

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