Last week came the surprising news that the Cleveland Browns had spoken to Wisconsin's Gary Andersen during their coaching search. Andersen and Badgers athletic director Barry Alvarez put out statements following the report, but details were scarce.
Now we know a lot more about that meeting, thanks to an interview Andersen gave to the Wisconsin State Journal's Andy Baggot.
Andersen told the paper he got a call "basically out of the blue" from then-Browns executives Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi, who had not first contacted Andersen's agent or Alvarez. When first asked if he wanted to meet and talk about the job, Andersen said he told them, "No, I'm good."
Banner and Lombardi pushed on, and Andersen said he'd have to check with Alvarez first. Alvarez then gave Andersen the green light to have the meeting, which happened at a small Ohio airport.
“It wasn’t really an interview,” Andersen told the newspaper. “They were telling me what direction they were headed in and they had a plan. They gave me some information.”
Andersen said the Browns asked for a second meeting, but he declined.
“The interest is flattering, but it’s not me,” Andersen said. “I had no interest in going any farther with it. I made a commitment to the kids here and obviously the kids that we were recruiting. ...
“This [Wisconsin] is the place for me. I don’t have any desire to reach out to anybody in any way, shape or form for anything. Not just the NFL. It’s the same way in college. This is it.”
Andersen's explanation should soothe any Badgers fans worried that he's looking around for jobs. While coaches move all the time, the fact that he turned down a second meeting with the Browns showed his commitment to Wisconsin and some good sense, as Banner and Lombardi were both fired not long after that first encounter.