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Report: Cleveland Browns interested in Gus Malzahn and James Franklin

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Cred: Photo: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns have their eyes on the college game. They are reportedly interested in interviewing Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin.

Jimmy Haslam, who purchased the team in 2012, is a University of Tennessee booster, and apparently is drinking some of the SEC Kool-Aid. It should be noted that both coaches defeated Tennessee this season.

Of the two, Franklin is the man with NFL experience. In 2005, he coached wide receivers for the Green Bay Packers.

While Malzahn has never coached in the professional ranks, his meteoric resurrection of Auburn makes him a hot prospect. It’s possible that the Browns, on the heels of Chip Kelly’s first-year successes in Philadelphia, seek their own up-tempo offensive guru.

As of posting, both Malzahn and Franklin had yet to coach in their bowl game. Vanderbilt plays on Jan. 4; Auburn on Jan. 6. Unlike Tampa, who hired quickly after dismissing Greg Schiano, look for the Browns’ search to extend into the second week of the month.

Whoever is selected will take over for Rob Chudzinski, who was fired after only one year on the job. The team’s next coach will be its sixth since 2004.

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