The Cleveland Browns say they have not begun deliberations on potential head coaches, but did not definitively say Condoleeza Rice was not on that list, though they refused to confirm ESPN's earlier report.
Statement from GM John Dorsey: pic.twitter.com/aQExOzX0ge— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 18, 2018
The Cleveland Browns, now on the hunt for a new head coach, announced last week that they'd be open to hiring a woman for the coveted NFL job, and reportedly they already have a woman in mind: Bush Administration Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
ESPN reports that Rice has made the "short list" of people the Browns are considering interviewing for the head coach position, recently vacated by Hue Jackson, who won only three of the team's last 40 games. Right now, the Browns are operating with an interim head coach — one of the team's defensive coordinators — until they can find a more suitable replacement.
Oddly enough, while Rice would be the first female NFL head coach — if she got the job — she wouldn't be the first woman in a position of power within the NFL. According to ESPN, the Buffalo Bills, the Oakland Raiders, and the San Francisco 49ers have all recently added women to their coaching staff.
"A potential interview hardly means the Browns will hire Rice, but they are interested in talking to her about the job and seeing what she could bring to the position and the organization," reports ESPN, but the team does believe Rice is an "amazing person."
Rice has no coaching experience in professional sports — and certainly none in professional football — and professional coaching experience is generally considered a top priority for candidates seeking a job as an NFL head coach. But Rice has been an outspoken activist within the sports community. Earlier this year, she chaired the Commission on College Basketball for the NCAA Commission and helped to craft new scholastic standards for collegiate athletes.
She also serves on the College Football Playoff selections committee.
And to top it off, she's a "lifelong" Browns fan who maintains a chummy relationship with the team's owners.
A head coaching job may still be well outside Rice's comfort zone. She's repeatedly said that she'd prefer to one day be NFL commissioner, a job that would suit her far better than a head coaching position. But interviewing with the Browns could be a step in that direction, too, according to ESPN.
"The interview process could even lead to Rice becoming more involved in the organization in an official capacity or as a consultant," the sports network reports.
Interviewing with an NFL team could also push the process of becoming NFL commissioner along at higher levels, since it demonstrates interest in a long-term position with professional football.