Cleveland Browns To Hire Bob Stoops? Sooners Coach Could Be Front-Runner for the Job [VIDEO]

Greg Archuleta
By Greg Archuleta ( @GeigaSr
on Jan 03, 2014 08:41 AM EST
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Bob Stoops
Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops and athletic director Joe Castiglione released a joint statement suspending running back Joe Mixon for the entire 2014 season following an assault charge. (Photo : Reuters)

If Bob Stoops was auditioning for the Cleveland Browns head coaching job on Thursday night, he made a pretty convincing argument.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer cited a tweet by St. Louis Rams sideline reporter and St. Louis 101 ESPN NFL Insider Tony Softli saying the Stoops, the Oklahoma Sooners coach, could be the leading candidate for the Browns job:

"OU Head Coach and Ohio native Bob Stoops may have the inside track on the Cleveland Browns opening."

Stoops' Sooners stunned Alabama 45-31 in the Sugar Bowl on Thursday night.

The Plain Dealer also reported that NFL Network's Ian Rappaport indicated earlier in the week that Stoops had an interest in the Cleveland job.

Stoops is a Youngstown, Ohio native who has compiled a 160-39 mark at Oklahoma and won the 2000 national championship. He has won 10 or more games in 12 of his 15 seasons with the Sooners and never had endured a losing season. reported Tuesday that the Browns also are interested in Auburn's Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt's James Franklin, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

They already have interviewed Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and are expected to interview Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles on Friday and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel on Saturday.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and chief executive officer Joe Banner could be looking to make a big splash after taking criticism for firing Rob Chudzinski after only one season. They seem to believe that a college coach could thrive in the NFL, having interviewed then-Oregon coach Chip Kelly and then-Syracuse coach Doug Marrone for the head coaching job last season.

The 53-year-old Stoops has the biggest name recognition among the current candidates, and the Browns can't offer a job to any NFL coach - head or assistant - while their team remains in the playoffs.

Stoops has sent 65 players to the NFL, including 13 first-round selection, the Plain Dealer reports.

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