Kevin Stefanski was the Cleveland Browns' second choice last year. He could be the first this time.
The Vikings offensive coordinator interviewed with the Browns for their coaching job on Thursday, the 37-year-old taking a break from preparing for this weekend's playoff game against San Francisco to make another impression on Cleveland's search committee.
Stefanski was in the running to be the Browns coach a year ago and met with the team twice. He was reportedly favored by chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, but owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam opted for Freddie Kitchens, who was fired following a drama-filled 6-10 season.
Stefanski has polished up his resume a bit in his one season running Minnesota's offense, and there's a chance he could emerge as Cleveland's pick.
He is the seventh candidate to meet with the Browns, who talked with Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz on Wednesday. The Browns are scheduled to interview Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels today. He is the presumed favorite to get the gig because McDaniels has both NFL head coaching experience and success working with star quarterback Tom Brady.
Two years ago, McDaniels agreed to coach the Indianapolis Colts, but he backed out to stay with New England. He went 11-17 as Denver's coach in 2009-10.
On Saturday, Stefanski's offense will match up against the 49ers and their defense led by coordinator Robert Saleh, who interviewed with the Browns last week.
Jimmy Haslam and his search team have also met with former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who has since taken the Dallas job, Ravens coordinator Greg Roman, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.
Gloves go from scam to fundraiser
In the celebratory chaos of the victorious locker room, Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph was approached after his game-winning touchdown catch in overtime in New Orleans by a man with a media credential asking if he could have his gloves for a charity event.
Rudolph didn't recognize him, and actual reporters are prohibited from such requests, but he was in a good mood. Like any NFL receiver, naturally, he has dozens of pairs of gloves to spare.
“I said, 'Absolutely. I'll even sign them for you,'” Rudolph recalled Thursday. “So I signed them for him, gave them to him and didn't think anything of it.”
Three days later, he was sent a screen shot of an item selling on eBay: his autographed gloves.
“I was disappointed he only tried to get $375 for them,” Rudolph said, smiling. “He could've probably got way more than that.”
After sharing the story Wednesday on Twitter, Rudolph eventually connected with the Vikings fan in New Jersey who bought them but hadn't yet received the gloves. In the meantime, he took the opportunity to encourage donations to Rudolph's favored charity, the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. According to Rudolph, the publicity from the scam led to more than $10,000 in new donations.