John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland is expected to fire Pat Shurmur after the Browns' Week 17 game against Pittsburgh. Former Steelers offensive coordinator and likely 2012 Coach of the Year Bruce Arians is an intriguing option to replace him.
While it's not the team floating any kind of rumor - it comes from Cleveland Plain-Dealer columnist Tom Reed - the Browns could make a move to replace head coach Pat Shurmur with Bruce Arians, Colts offensive coordinator and former Steelers offensive coordinator.
Arians is the odds-on favorite for NFL Coach of the Year honors after filling in for Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis this season, bringing the Colts from a two-win season to the 5th seed in the playoffs.
Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia in September, and was just medically cleared to return to the sideline for the Colts' Week 17 game against Houston. He will presumably handle the same duties in their first round playoff game, which will be against Baltimore.
Arians was the Browns' offensive coordinator in one of their two winning seasons since the reinvention of the franchise occurred in 1999. He led a plucky Browns offense into Pittsburgh for a wild card game that year, and nearly pulled off an upset.
Arians, much to the dismay of Steelers fans, did an outstanding job in Indianapolis, particularly considering the circumstances. Rallying the team around the slogan "Chuckstrong," the Colts greatly overachieved common expectations, and sit on a potential 10-win seasons just one year after the franchise was gutted of several key players who contributed to a Colts' run of success that netted nine consecutive 10-plus win seasons under coaches Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur is not expected to be retained by a new ownership group led by former Steelers minority owner Jimmy Haslem. The Browns play the Steelers in Week 17 looking to win its sixth game of the year - which would be the most wins the franchise has had since 2007, when they won 10 games and missed the playoffs.