Cleveland Browns General Manager John Dorsey denied an ESPN report published Sunday saying that the football team was considering interviewing former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for their vacant head coaching job.
“Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a great leader, possesses the highest possible character and also happens to be a Browns fan,” wrote Dorsey in a statement first published by Fox 8 News Cleveland.
“I have the utmost respect and admiration for all she’s accomplished and was honored to meet her for the first time earlier this season. Our coaching search will be thorough and deliberate, but we are still in the process of composing the list of candidates and Secretary Rice has not been discussed.”
Speculation about Rice came after Dorsey said earlier this week that he’d consider anybody for the head coach job, including women.
“As it turns out, there’s one woman that the Browns’ have on their wish list to go speak to: that would be the former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who is s lifelong Browns’ fan,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on “Sunday NFL Countdown.” “Now the Browns are interested in getting her ideas and her input into the organization. She was with the team out in Oakland. She could become the first woman ever to interview for an NFL head coaching job.”
Rice, who is a lifelong Browns fan and was an inaugural member of the College Football Playoff selection committee, confirmed on Facebook that she is not interested in the position but did encourage NFL teams to hie more women to their coaching staffs.
“One doesn’t have to play the game to understand it and motivate players. But experience counts — and it is time to develop a pool of experienced women coaches,” Rice wrote.
The reports surrounding Rice come as women have recently been hired as assistant coaches and staff in men’s pro sports. In 2016, Kathryn Smith became the New York Jets’ special teams quality control coach, becoming the first woman to be hired to a full-time coaching position in the NFL. The Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers have also added women to their coaching staffs, while the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs hired former WNBA star Becky Hammon as an assistant coach and selected her to be the head coach during the NBA Summer League.
The Cleveland Browns went winless during the 2017 season and currently have a record of 3-6-1. The team fired their head coach, Hue Jackson, on October 29 after a 33-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.