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Report: Cleveland Browns Nearly Traded for Jim Harbaugh 73

Per a report from Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the Cleveland Browns nearly pulled off a trade for the San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Indicating that the news came from multiple league sources, Florio said the Browns nearly pulled off what would have been the most surprising of this short NFL off-season:

The Browns’ unpredictable head-coaching search nearly finished with what would have been the most unpredictable outcome of any head-coaching search since Jon Gruden was traded from the Raiders to the Buccaneers a dozen years ago.

Florio further states that the Browns had multiple picks in place to acquire the rights to Harbaugh, but ultimately Harbaugh decided to stay in San Francsco. The Browns did not comment specifically about their attempts to acquire him, but broadly acknowledged many options were considered. They did not deny the Harbaugh story was not true.

Per Tony Grossi of, Browns spokesman had this to say:




It is not surprising that Harbaugh would decide to stay in the Bay Area after taking the 49ers to the NFC title game in every year he has been there. Also, he would have had to play his brother, John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens, twice every year. Finally, the Browns franchise is doesn’t not appear to be on the brink of contention and Harbaugh would have had his work cut out for him. All of these reasons likely played a factor in his decision to stay with the 49ers.

UPDATE: San Francisco’s owner Jed York refuted Florio’s claim directly via his Twitter feed: 



Update 2 (10 PM EST): ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reports that the original report was indeed true. The 49ers and Browns were in trade talks for Jim Harbaugh, talks that reached serious stages.



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