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Browns request to interview LBs coaches Brian Flores, Jerod Mayo for defensive coordinator position

Team also requests interview with Seahawks' Sean Desai, Titans' Jim Schwartz
Brian Flores
Posted at 1:19 PM, Jan 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-09 15:43:29-05

BEREA, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns are in search of a new defensive coordinator after firing Joe Woods Monday morning following a disappointing 7-10 season that saw the defense struggle through much of the first half and beyond. As part of their search, the team has requested to interview two big names in the NFL defensive world—Steelers linebackers coach Brian Flores and Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo.

The Browns put in a request to interview Flores and Mayo on Monday.

Flores was hired by the Steelers in February to serve as their senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach after he was fired as the head coach by the Miami Dolphins at the end of the 2021 season.

Flores was the head coach of the Dolphins from 2019 to 2021 and before that worked for the New England Patriots from 2008 to 2018 as a special teams assistant, defensive assistant and safeties and linebackers coach among other roles.

After Flores was fired by the Dolphins, he filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, New York Giants, Denver Broncos and Dolphins, alleging racial discrimination during the process of head coach interviewing and hiring. That lawsuit is ongoing.

As a head coach, Flores held a 24-25 record over three years.

Mayo was hired by the Patriots to be their inside linebackers coach in 2019 after playing linebacker for the team from 2008 to 2015. Mayo is a Super Bowl champion and two-time Pro Bowler and was a first-round draft pick by New England in 2008.

The Browns have also requested to interview Seahawks associate head coach and defensive assistant Sean Desai for the defensive, as well as Titans senior defensive assistant Jim Schwartz for the coordinator position.

Desai began his coaching career in 2006 as a defensive and special teams coach at Temple before taking jobs at the University of Miami and Boston College. In 2013, Desai was hired by the Chicago Bears as a quality control assistant. Desai went on to become the safeties coach and defensive coordinator for the Bears before being let go following a coaching change and taking the job with the Seahawks in February of 2022.

Schwartz, a longtime defensive coordinator, most recently served as the Titans senior defensive assistant, hired by the team in 2021. Before his role with the Titans, Schwartz worked as a defensive coordinator for the Titans from 2001 to 2008, the Bills in 2014 and the Eagles from 2016 to 2020, winning a Super Bowl in 2017 with the Eagles.

The Browns and Schwartz have ties as he worked as a personnel scout form the club from 1993 to 1995. He has also spent time coaching defenses for the Ravens and was the head coach of the Lions from 2009 to 2013.

The Browns will look to interview candidates throughout the week before hiring a replacement for Woods.

Who the Browns hire remains to be seen, but players like safety John Johnson III are hopeful that whoever it is can be a strong leader for the defense.

"I don't like talking about scheme too much cause I think anything works. I think getting your players to play, that's like the bottom line. And that's in football period. When your little kids all the way up through high school, college, getting your players to play and go to battle with you, run through a brick wall for you. I think that's what I'm looking for," Johnson said.

RELATED: Browns fire defensive coordinator Joe Woods after disappointing season

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