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AP Sources: Browns meet 2nd time with Whisenhunt


February 20. 2013 1:35AM
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(AP) The Browns are taking a second look at Ken Whisenhunt, who could be close to filling Cleveland's coaching vacancy.


Two people familiar with the meeting said Whisenhunt is having a second interview with the Browns on Thursday. Whisenhunt, who was recently fired after six seasons with the Cardinals, is meeting with the Browns away from their facility in Berea, Ohio, said one person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the search.


The team met with Whisenhunt last week in Arizona. He went 45-51 in six seasons with the Cardinals and led them to one Super Bowl appearance.


The Plain Dealer was first to report Whisenhunt's second interview.


The 50-year-old worked as a special teams coach with the Browns in 1999, when they returned to the NFL as an expansion team.


Whisenhunt is the first candidate known to get a second interview with the Browns, who fired Pat Shurmur one day after completing a 5-11 season.


The Cardinals also let Whisenhunt go on Dec. 31, cutting ties with the winningest coach in franchise history and the only one to take the long-suffering team to its only Super Bowl in 2008. Arizona started this season 4-0, but the Cardinals lost 11 of their last 12 and finished with the NFL's lowest-ranked offense.


The Cardinals have only had three winning seasons, and two came under Whisenhunt, who had one year left on a $5.5 million contract.


Whisenhunt spent six seasons in Pittsburgh, the final three as offensive coordinator under Bill Cowher before he was hired by the Cardinals.


He inherited a team given little chance to compete and turned them into a .500 squad in his first season. The next year, with Kurt Warner at quarterback, the Cardinals made an unexpected run to the Super Bowl, where they lost a 27-23 thriller to the Steelers.


Arizona won a franchise-record 10 games the next regular season and beat Green Bay 51-45 in an overtime playoff classic. But the Cardinals were routed the next week by New Orleans and Warner retired.


Warner's departure began Whisenhunt's slide in the desert. The Cardinals went 5-11 in 2010 and 8-8 in 2011.


As a former minority owner with Pittsburgh, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is very familiar with Whisenhunt.


The Browns are not commenting on any candidates or interviews. Haslam and CEO Joe Banner are known to have interviewed eight candidates to become Cleveland's sixth coach in the past 14 years.


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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL


Associated Press


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