CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Browns have Chip Kelly's interest. Now they need his signature.
The team is expected to meet with Oregon's innovative coach again and hopes to complete a deal to make him Cleveland's sixth fulltime coach since 1999. However, Kelly kept a scheduled meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles and, as of late Saturday night, hadn't had his second visit with the Browns.
Kelly and his representatives met with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner for a reported seven hours in Arizona on Friday. They came close to reaching an agreement, but the sides parted company agreeing to speak again, a strong sign that Kelly was leaning toward the Browns.
Kelly also met with the Buffalo Bills, and he decided to keep an appointment with the Eagles, who weren't going to pursue the 49-year-old after they learned a deal between Kelly and Cleveland was near. It's possible Kelly and his agent, David Dunn, are meeting with the other teams to gain leverage with the Browns.
There's also a chance Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman are making a hard push at Kelly to steal him from the Browns. Banner spent 19 seasons with Philadelphia, the last 12 as president, but left the club last year and has had a falling out with Lurie, a longtime friend.
Kelly nearly jumped to the pros last year with Tampa Bay but decided at the last minute to return to Oregon, where he has been coach since 2009.
Haslam and Banner plan to hire a coach before they seek a general manager to pair with him. The Browns have also promised that their next coach will have final say and control over the club's 53-man roster, perks that will likely limit their talent pool when looking for a GM or pro personnel director.
Kelly went 46-7 in four years at Oregon, where his high-tempo, warp-speed offense averaged nearly 50 points per game this season. He has no pro coaching experience, but some of his offensive principles are being used by New England and Washington. Patriots coach Bill Belichick met with Kelly in the offseason and has adopted a few of the Ducks' offensive wrinkles into his schemes this season.
Rivera will return
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Panthers announced Saturday coach Ron Rivera will be back next season.
Panthers spokesman Charlie Dayton says Rivera met with owner Jerry Richardson Saturday morning and was told he will be back for a third season.
Rivera's status with the Panthers had been up in the air pending a meeting with Rivera on Saturday morning.
Eagles still searching
PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles' front-office brass left for Arizona on Saturday to continue interviews for the team's coaching vacancy.
"The Eagles are committed to finding the right fit for head coach and are heading to Arizona now to kick off a week of interviews with a variety of candidates including Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley," the team said in a statement.
Busy day of interviews
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills interviewed Oregon's Chip Kelly, former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and Syracuse coach Doug Marrone on a busy Friday in their coaching search.
The Bills, stationed in Arizona for much of this week, didn't provide any details regarding where the interviews took place or how long they lasted.
Next up is a trip to Denver, where the Bills are scheduled to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Saturday, according to a person familiar with the team's search. Jets' search begins
NEW YORK -- The Jets have begun the process of replacing Mike Tannenbaum as the team's general manager, with Atlanta's David Caldwell and San Francisco's Tom Gamble among the first group of interviews.
Caldwell, the Falcons' director of player personnel, was scheduled to meet with the Jets on Friday, while Gamble, the 49ers' director of player personnel, and former Cleveland GM Tom Heckert are reportedly set to sit down with the team Saturday.