CLEVELAND – The Browns' coaching search has either stalled or stopped.
Team president Mike Holmgren did not interview any candidates on Wednesday, the 10th day of Cleveland's pursuit of a replacement for Eric Mangini. A team spokesman said the Browns had nothing to report and was not aware of any further interviews.
The Browns have met with three known candidates: St. Louis offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. It was assumed the Browns would interview Philadelphia offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, but that meeting has not taken place or been scheduled.
The 45-year-old Shurmur is believed to be the front-runner to become Cleveland's fifth coach in 13 years. He worked in Philadelphia under coach Andy Reid, a protege and close friend of Holmgren's. Shurmur also worked with Browns general manager Tom Heckert.
ESPN.com, citing anonymous league sources, said the Browns hope to finalize a contract with Shurmur "within the next 48 hours" and introduce him at a news conference by Friday. If that's the case, negotiations will be interesting to say the least.
Shurmur is represented by agent Bob LaMonte, whose clients include Holmgren, Heckert and Browns executive vice president Bryan Wiedmeier.
Lamonte has not returned numerous phone messages left with his agency throughout Cleveland's coaching search.
The NFL Network reported the Browns are in contract talks and that LaMonte will come to Cleveland on Thursday to finalize the deal.
Although he lacks head coaching experience, Shurmur's background running a West Coast offense and working with young quarterbacks is appealing to Holmgren, who set out on his search determined to "find exactly the right person for the job who can eventually someday lead us to the championship. That is my only goal."
Holmgren wants to expand Cleveland's offense, which languished under Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.
Under Shurmur's guidance this season, Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford passed for 18 touchdowns and 3,512 yards — second-most by a rookie behind Peyton Manning's 3,739 in 1998. Before joining St. Louis' staff, Shurmur coached Philadelphia's quarterbacks, and developed Donovan McNabb into one of the game's top QBs.