America's once-top diplomat may be an avid football fan, but don't expect her to be coaching on the sidelines in Cleveland anytime soon.
Just a week after Cleveland Browns’ General Manager John Dorsey said he was open to interviewing a woman for the Browns' head coaching job, a report surfaced Sunday that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is being considered for an interview. ESPN, citing a league source, reported that Dorsey was considering bringing in Rice for the spot.
Rice, 64, would become the first woman to ever interview for an NFL head-coaching job if the team follows through. After the report emerged, the Browns released a statement from Dorsey saying that Rice has not been discussed as a candidate.
"Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a great leader, possesses the highest possible character and also happens to be a Browns fan," Dorsey said in a statement. "I have the utmost respect and admiration for all she’s accomplished and was honored to meet her for the first time earlier this season. Our coaching search will be thorough and deliberate, but we are still in the process of composing the list of candidates and Secretary Rice has not been discussed."
Rice, who served as secretary of state from 2005 to 2009, is an avid football fan and a lifelong Browns fan. In a statement posted on her Facebook page, Rice said she's not ready to coach, but "would like to call a play or two next season if the Browns need ideas!"
"I love my Browns -- and I know they will hire an experienced coach to take us to the next level," Rice said. "On a more serious note, I do hope that the NFL will start to bring women into the coaching profession as position coaches and eventually coordinators and head coaches. One doesn't have to play the game to understand it and motivate players. But experience counts -- and it is time to develop a pool of experienced women coaches."
A team source told ESPN that a potential interview didn't mean that Rice would ultimately get the job, but the organization was interested in talking with her about what she could bring to the team.
"She's an amazing person," one Browns source told ESPN.
Besides being pictured wearing Browns’ gear, she was also spotted on the field with owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam before Cleveland's game in Oakland on Sept. 30, ESPN reported. In 2012, she was part of a print campaign for women's NFL apparel and appeared in ads wearing a Browns jersey.
"Supporting the @NFL and showing my passion for the @OfficialBrowns! Can't wait for the season to start!" she posted on Twitter at the time.
The Browns fired head coach Hue Jackson last month one day after a blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jackson was 3-36-1 with the Browns in fewer than three full seasons. The 2017 Browns were the second team in NFL history to finish the season winless.
While there was previous speculation that Rice could eventually become commissioner of the NFL, Rice was a member of the inaugural College Football Playoff selection committee, where she worked from 2013 to 2016.
At the time, Rice was considered to be a surprising choice because she had never worked directly in college athletics, though when she was provost at Stanford the athletic department was under her supervision, Fox Sports reported at the time.
Rice called herself a “student of the game," and that she "experienced plenty of heat in my life."
“What I can hopefully bring to this committee is critical judgment and the willingness to work real hard … to put the best four teams on the field,” she said when joining.
Earlier this year, the NCAA announced it adopted a series of policy changes with the intention of cleaning up corruption in college basketball based on recommendations made by a commission led by Rice.
Rice has voiced her opinion on NFL matters before, saying in a 2017 interview on Fox News that NFL players should voice their concerns about racial injustice without "alienating" people amid kneeling protests during the national anthem.
In an interview with Fox News' Dana Perino on "The Daily Briefing," Rice said that players' goal should be to bring as many people to their side as possible and explain what injustices they are protesting.
"I personally believe very strongly that the American flag stands for the millions of people who have sacrificed over the years," she told Fox News at the time, adding that the flag is a "symbol of the fact that we have greater freedoms."
Fox News' Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.