Nick Saban, Chip Kelly very unlikely Browns candidates, according to report

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Both Nick Saban and Chip Kelly have been floated as candidates for Browns coach, but according to a report, it's unlikely they would work with No. 1 GM candidate Mike Lombardi.

Nick Saban's name has been repeatedly connected to the Browns, but according to a report, the Alabama coach would be unlikely to take the job in Cleveland. Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland reports that it's likely that Mike Lombardi will be the next Browns GM. Lombardi has a solid working relationship with Joe Banner and would yield final personnel control to the CEO of the Browns. One the other end, Grossi cites sources that say there is "zero chance" Saban would work with Lombardi, and that the Alabama coach would not work with his former colleague "in a thousand years."

Saban said this week that he didn't think it was "fair" to leave Alabama, and Grossi adds that he's leaning towards staying in Tuscaloosa.

Lombardi worked with Saban in Cleveland during the Bill Belichick era. New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is reported to have Saban at the top of his list of candidates, but Grossi writes that neither Lombardi nor Saban would be interested in working together again. Lombardi has a strong relationship with Saban's agent, Jimmy Sexton, and the former GM could be aiding Sexton by floating the Browns rumors to give Saban leverage with Alabama.

Another candidate for the Browns position is Oregon's Chip Kelly, who is said to be a favorite of Lombardi's. Kelly has also been repeatedly linked to NFL jobs, including the potential opening with the Eagles. But Grossi writes that it's unlikely Kelly becomes a serious contender because he would likely demand total control of football operations and roster decision-making. With Banner now as CEO, it's highly unlikely Kelly could get that control in Cleveland.

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