The Cleveland Browns released a statement refuting an ESPN report that had the organization interested in interviewing former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice for the team’s head coaching position.
Attributed to general manager John Dorsey, the statement read: “Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a great leader, possesses the highest possible character and also happens to be a Browns fan. 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 compiling the list of candidates and Secretary Rice has not been discussed.”
Rice later weighed in with a Facebook post.
“I love my Browns – and I know they will hire an experienced coach to take us to the next level.
“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.
“BTW – I’m not ready to coach but I would like to call a play or two next season if the Browns need ideas! And at no time will I call for a ‘prevent defense.'”
Here’s what ESPN originally reported
Citing a league source, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday morning that the Browns wanted to interview Rice, a lifelong football fan, for their head coach opening.
Dorsey said last week that he was open to hiring a woman as the team’s next head coach, but of the few women currently in the league, none are in a position to be head coach, at least not given the way teams traditionally do things.
Schefter wrote, “A potential interview hardly means the Browns will hire Rice, but they are interested in talking to her about the job and seeing what she could bring to the position and the organization.”
Rice’s football background
The 64-year-old Rice is most known for her time in government. She served as National Security Advisor for President George W. Bush’s first term, and Secretary of State for his second. She has served as provost of Stanford University and has been a professor there as well.
She’s a huge football fan, having watched Browns games with her father, John, growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, and has been in NFL commercials wearing Browns fan gear.
She also was a member of the College Football Playoff selection committee and hates prevent defense.
Does that qualify someone to be an NFL head coach? Rice commands respect for her achievements, and players would likely listen to her – in another role. Players know when coaches don’t know Xs and Os, and Rice has never been on the sidelines in a coaching capacity.
In years past, there have been rumors or speculation that Rice might be a good fit as NFL commissioner; this is the first time she’s ever been speculated to be a coaching candidate.