The Browns and Chip Kelly: Is it possible?

If the Browns try to hire Chip Kelly as head coach, they also might be committing to quarterback Johnny Manziel -- whom Kelly recruited when he was coach at Oregon. Getty Images

BEREA, Ohio -- It took less than 12 hours for the buzz about Chip Kelly to start in Cleveland.

Which is odd in one sense given that the Cleveland Browns still have a coach. It's almost distasteful to opine so much about filling a job that someone still holds.

But with most people expecting changes in Cleveland, Kelly's name resonates as a possibility should the team part ways with Mike Pettine.

Kelly runs an up-tempo spread offense that would seem to match the skills of a certain Browns quarterback. Also, Kelly recruited Johnny Manziel when he was coach at Oregon. Kelly's ego would seem to be the kind to declare, "I can make that guy succeed."

So much is unknown at this point about the Browns and their plans. If the team decides a reboot is in order, it would not have an experienced football person in charge to do the hiring. Instead, the job would seem to fall on owner Jimmy Haslam, president Alec Scheiner and executive vice president and general counsel Sashi Brown to conduct a search.

The other factor at play is that aside from having a list of possible candidates -- something every team keeps -- the Browns may not have a detailed plan for what they want to do if they decide to look for a new coach.

Typically, the Browns make a move and then start their search. As opposed to having a culture and a system in place that the coach fits, the Browns change everything to adjust to a coach they like.

It's why their restarts are so much more pronounced than many.

Kelly, on paper, seems to fit what the Browns might want. He has NFL experience. He's a football junkie. He's considered an innovator in terms of offense and in terms of his training and practice techniques.

He would come to a team without a GM, and might have a say in the guy he works with. That might make for a smoother partnership than others.

However, Kelly the GM did a lot to hurt the Philadelphia Eagles, as he parted ways with receivers Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson and running back LeSean McCoy. Put Maclin, Jackson and McCoy on the Browns, and how does that team look?

Kelly enjoyed two 10-win seasons in Philadelphia, but he flamed out in a hurry.

The key to whether the Browns talk to or pursue Kelly could be the end result of a dinner that Kelly had with Joe Banner and Haslam three years ago, when the Browns and Eagles were pursuing him.

Kelly wound up with the Eagles, and the Browns wound up hiring Rob Chudzinski.
 If that meeting ended poorly and if Haslam still has bad feelings about it, that might preclude a second run at him.

Those feelings also could run both ways. Nobody knows whether Kelly would even be interested in Cleveland at this point.

But if the Browns need a coach, and if they want to make a splash, and if they want to commit to Manziel, they'd be hard-pressed to find someone who fills those particular resume points better than Kelly.

If the team's management tries to hire Kelly, they also might be committing to Manziel to give him a shot in a system more similar to the one he ran in college.

As with so many things that seem to happen with the Browns, Manziel seems to be a central figure in the debate about Kelly.