Dabo Swinney is used to having his name mentioned for job openings in November and into the offseason. This year it happened a little early.
Hue Jackson was fired as the Cleveland Browns head coach on Monday, and immediately there was speculation about who would replace Jackson in Cleveland.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo wrote an article Monday night listing three possible candidates. Swinney was one of them.
“I’m happy right where I’m at,” Swinney told reporters after practice Wednesday night. “Y’all have been around here forever, and it’s November. It’s almost November. It’s November tomorrow. About every November there’s always some type of either I’m getting a job or somebody on my staff’s getting a job or whatever. And so that just kind of comes with the territory.”
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Robinson said he spoke with some people that work in the NFL that expect Swinney to take an NFL job at some point.
“Listening to some people around the NFL who know Swinney, I’m convinced he will eventually take a shot at the next level of football. His backers in the league – some of whom suggested Monday the Browns would be wise to take a big swing for him – have thought about his candidacy down to a granular level,” Robinson wrote. From the potential coaching support staff that Swinney could have lined up quickly, to executives who would be willing to work with him and (general manager John) Dorsey, to how his offense could be tailored to maximize Baker (Mayfield’s) growth in the NFL. That’s a lot of thought on a guy who doesn’t instantly jump to the top of most Browns coaching lists.”
Swinney continued to have his stance of never say never when asked about the opening on Wednesday, but he also did not sound like a guy who plans to leave Clemson anytime soon.
“Y’all know me. I’ve always said the same thing every year, any time it comes up. I don’t think you can ever say never... So who knows? So I live in the now and I never say never to anything just because you have no idea. Who’s to say five years from now, these people may be ready for me to get on a boat on the moat and ride out of here,” Swinney said. “Shoot, they may just do away with college football and I need somewhere to work. Who knows? All I can tell you is I love my job and I love Clemson. And y’all can look at my track record. I’ve only been at two places. I’ve never been a guy that’s really worried about the next job. I’ve just always tried to be great where I am.”
Swinney added that he understands there will always be speculation but his only focus is on beating Louisville.
“Sometimes there’s been jobs that have been offered to me that nobody knows, and that’s great because that’s how I operate to this day. And that’s awesome. But then you get stuff like this where people will throw your name out for things,” Swinney said. “I get it’s fun to speculate and people don’t mean any ill will, but my complete focus is on Clemson, and I hope I’m here for a long, long, long, long, long time. But trying to beat Louisville... I think it’s cold in Cleveland too isn’t it? Like really cool. I hate the cold.”
Swinney did take a trip to Cleveland in May for a Cavaliers game and enjoyed his time, and he does expect the Browns to make a strong hire. It just doesn’t sound like the hire will be Swinney.
“It’s actually a pretty place. I had never been there. The facility is in a neighborhood. I had never been. It was actually cool. I went up to a Cavs game. We went up to the Cavs-Raptors,” Swinney said. “I’ve got some friends up there on that staff. We went up to the facility. It’s actually a really cool place. It was a neat city right there on Lake Eerie and all of that. It was neat to be able to see that. I’m sure they’ll do a great job in getting the right guy in there.”