CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Speculation about Mike McCarthy becoming a head coach candidate for the Cleveland Browns began almost the moment he was fired Sunday by the Green Bay Packers.
Considering the top three in the Browns personnel department – general manager John Dorsey, assistant GM Eliot Wolf and vice president of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith – spent significant time with the Packers, it’s easy to draw the connection.
"I don't think that's how this thing goes," CBS Sports NFL analyst Jason La Canfora told "Andy and Jeff" on Tuesday. "Right now, I'd be surprised."
La Canfora said he could even see McCarthy taking next season off.
"I think he'll take his time," La Canfora said. "He now has the ability to take his time and talk to his agent and assess the landscape and see which jobs would be particularly attractive to him and if it's a good fit."
McCarthy was fired following a 20-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals that dropped the Packers to 4-7-1 on the season. McCarthy led the Packers to nine playoff appearances, four conference championship appearances and a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
Browns center JC Tretter, who was drafted by the Packers in 2013 and played there for four years, had praised McCarthy when asked about him on Monday.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with Mike McCarthy,” Tretter said. “I think what he has done in his career in Green Bay has been extraordinary. I think there’s not many franchises that would trade what he has done or pass that up. I think he’s a great man, too. I really enjoyed working with him. I don’t have a bad thing to say about Mike McCarthy.
“He was really an awesome leader and an awesome coach, coming in as a rookie into that program and be coached by him was really awesome for my career to set me up on how this business works and how the game of football is played.”
One of the prevailing narratives out of Green Bay concerning McCarthy’s dismissal was his relationship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and it souring in recent years.
“I think that whole story line gets a little overblown,” Tretter said. “I think they are just two competitive people in Aaron and Mike, and I think they are both competitive in the same direction in that they both want the team to win. I never see it as like a competing competitiveness in a bad way, they just are very confident in what they think is best for the team to win, so I never really interpreted it as a bad thing.
“They always worked well together and I felt like combining their ideas and again, things just get, you eventually that’s the business we’re in, things eventually move on.”
The Browns, for the first time in nearly 15 years, will look to hire a coach with a quarterback to build around already in the fold: Baker Mayfield.
How a coach fits with Mayfield will be just one of a long list of criteria the Browns will look to meet before selecting the ninth full-time head coach – and fourth under the Haslam’s ownership – for the franchise.
“I think they would do great,” Tretter said. “Again, he started working with Aaron when Aaron was a rookie too and Aaron’s developed into a hell of a player so I think that relationship would be fine. He’s worked with…I see a lot of similarities between Aaron and Baker personality-wise, competitiveness, and that’s all the things that Aaron came in with too when he was a young player, so I think they’d work well together.”