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Sources: Browns Eye Marty Schottenhemier


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Sources: Browns eye Schottenheimer for 2009

By Chris Mortensen

The Cleveland Browns are formulating a plan that ultimately could lead to the return of Marty Schottenheimer as their coach for the 2009 season, according to sources.

The Browns would also be open to considering Bill Cowher if he sends stronger signals that he's ready to return, the sources said.

The Browns plan to fire coach Romeo Crennel after a disappointing year, regardless of injuries the team has suffered, the sources said. Pubicly, owner Randy Lerner has only said he will evaluate Crennel after the season.

The future of general manager Phil Savage also has been the source of speculation by various media outlets. Sources said Lerner prefers to retain Savage to run his personnel department but could scale back his overall duties, which include the final say on all roster moves.

Before the 2008 season, Savage signed a four-year contract extension for an average of $2.7 million per year, the sources said.

However, Lerner is contemplating a different authority -- or "voice" of the franchise -- that can filled by an experienced coach like Cowher or Schottenheimer, the sources said.

Schottenheimer recently said he had no plans to return to the sidelines, but sources said he would consider coming back "for the job ... with a team that has a good core of talent."

Schottenheimer, 65, was fired by the San Diego Chargers after leading the team to a 14-2 record in 2006 and a first-round playoff bye. But a home second-round playoff loss to the New England Patriots and a broken relationship with general manager A.J. Smith led to a surprising dismissal in February 2007. Several Chargers players were upset that Schottenheimer was fired.

Schottenheimer was the Browns' defensive coordinator under Sam Rutigliano in 1980 but took over as head coach when Rutigliano was fired midway through the 1984 season. Schottenheimer had a 44-27 record with the Browns, won three divisional titles, had four playoff appearances and two AFC Championship Game appearances before he was fired by owner Art Modell.

Overall, in coaching stints with the Browns, Chiefs, Redskins and Chargers, Scottenheimer is one of only seven coaches with at least 200 career victories. His playoff record is 5-13.

Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN.

Would Marty take his son with him if he is hired by the Browns? I hope so... =)

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