The yearly coaching carousel always spawns rumors, and one of the biggest in this cycle links Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley to the Cleveland Browns’ opening.
On top of Riley being one of the hottest names on the market as the NFL has started trending toward young, offensive-minded coaches, Cleveland would give him the chance to reconnect with quarterback Baker Mayfield. The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner told reporters that he hasn’t talked to his former coach about the Browns job, but he has no doubts that Riley could succeed in that position.
“Lincoln’s been ready, it’s just who he is and how he coaches and the respect level he’s had from all of his players, how detailed he is,’’ Mayfield said Wednesday (via Cleveland.com). “Yeah, he’s ready but that’s his decision and you know what, he’s got something special there so I don’t think anybody is going to blame him if he stays there for the next 20 years.”
Indeed, the Sooners have qualified for the College Football Playoff in both of Riley’s first two seasons in charge. The 35-year-old began his Oklahoma tenure as offensive coordinator in 2015, when the team also reached the Playoff.
He may have another Heisman on his hands in quarterback Kyler Murray, which makes Riley an even more alluring candidate for NFL teams. But a Riley-Mayfield reunion in Cleveland seems like wishful thinking — for now, at least.