On Tuesday, the Carolina Panthers shocked the football world when they hired Baylor coach Matt Rhule despite having an interview scheduled for later in the day with Josh McDaniels.
According to WEEI's Courtney Fallon, there's a reason why the Panthers never got around to their meeting with the New England Patriots offensive coordinator.
Elaborating on a tweet that claimed there was a "50/50 chance" that McDaniels remains in New England, Fallon explained that if the McDaniels doesn't wind up in Cleveland, it won't be because he didn't want the job. In fact, per Fallon, the Canton native entered the offseason with the Browns' head coaching job as his top choice -- and it was that information that caused Panthers owner David Tepper to act quickly on hiring Rhule.
"What I've been told is Josh McDaniels was David Tepper's No. 1 head coaching choice hands down for the Carolina Panthers. The Carolina Panthers were not Josh McDaniels' No. 1 choice. They weren't even his No. 2 choice," Fallon said on her podcast, The Courtney Fallon Experience. "Cleveland was his No. 1 choice. He was comfortable with Cleveland, he was comfortable with the Patriots. I'm not sure where the lines got crossed here that David Tepper found out that Josh wanted Cleveland."
Despite Fallon's report, there's no guarantee that McDaniels will land in Cleveland or that the Browns will even offer the John Carroll graduate the job. It does, however, quell speculation that McDaniels would be skeptical of coaching the Browns due to the unstable nature of the franchise under owner Jimmy Haslam.
It's also worth noting that McDaniels has competition for Cleveland's head coaching job, which is the only one still open in the NFL. On Wednesday, Cleveland interviewed Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz for its head-coaching vacancy and an interview with Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski is scheduled for Thursday.
McDaniels, meanwhile, will reportedly interview for the Browns' job on Friday, with a decision on who will succeed Freddie Kitchens in Cleveland expected not long after that.