When reached for comment on the rumor, Crennel told NFL Media's Ian Rapoport he was "still unemployed" and plans to coach the East-West Shrine game in two weeks. Rapoport noted there was still "a good chance" Crennel would take the position.
O'Brien, who spent four seasons as an assistant with the New England Patriots before his two-year stint at Penn State, is reportedly drawing heavily from the ranks of former Patriots coaches to form his staff. Crennel served as the Patriots' defensive coordinator from 2001 to 2004, helping them win three Super Bowls in that span.
Crennel was hired out of New England to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, a capacity he filled for four seasons without reaching the playoffs. He then became the defensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs and was promoted to head coach in 2012. He was fired a season later after going 2-14.
Marvez is also reporting that O'Brien has fired all assistants from the previous coaching regime, including Wade Phillips, who served as the interim head coach after the termination of Gary Kubiak in early December. O'Brien met with each assistant briefly and did not ask them for feedback on the team's current players.