Mere hours before Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine addressed the media at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, reports broke that the team nearly had a deal in place to trade draft picks to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for head coach Jim Harbaugh.
When it comes that kind of "noise," Pettine has no time to listen.
"My job, as a head coach, is to build a work environment where guys, they're like me, they can't wait to get to work in the morning," Pettine said. "We're going to have to be that way. I'm not going to rule with an iron fist. It's going to be positive.
"We're going to know when to work and we're going to know when to play, but at the same time, knowing our most fun is going to come when we're beating teams on Sundays. That's my job as a head coach, to make sure everybody has what they need to be successful."
Coupled with the news of the Browns' reported interest in Harbaugh and the recent removal of CEO Joe Banner and general manager Michael Lombardi from the front office by owner Jimmy Haslam, whose family business, Pilot Flying J, is facing a federal investigation, Pettine was asked if the distractions have affected him.
"I'm full speed ahead with (new GM) Ray Farmer," Pettine said. "Ray and I have had a chance to sit down and talk about our vision for the team and bounced things back and forth on things that it takes to be successful in the NFL. We have a shared vision.
"I'm in the office; I'm watching tape. We're grinding away. We're full speed ahead. I told the staff we're behind. In our first staff meeting, they needed to understand the magnitude of the job we were taking on."
During that first meeting with the coaching staff, Pettine outlined just how big of an undertaking he and the coaching staff had in front of them to turn around a franchise that has not won a championship since upsetting the Baltimore Colts, 27-0, on Dec. 27, 1964.
"Anytime you're trying to turn a franchise around, you have to be extraordinary," Pettine said. "Since 1991, the Browns have had two playoff appearances and have won one playoff game. In those 23 years, there's been 141 coaches. The challenge to them was, 'How are we going to be different?' I think that's something that they took to heart, and hopefully, we'll have results to back that up in the fall."
Despite all of the "noise" that surrounds the organization, Pettine still wakes up every day thankful to have the opportunity to lead an NFL franchise, something he aimed to achieve after resigning from the head-coaching position at North Penn High School in 2001 and taking a low-level video assistant position with the Baltimore Ravens.
"This is a dream come true," Pettine said. "I pinch myself every day. I wake up in the morning and say, 'I'm the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. I can't wait to get to work.' There's so much negative that you could get overwhelmed by it, but I don't see it that way. I know I'm very blessed to be here, that my path was different, and I think that's helped motivate me.
"I'm the proverbial guy from the mailroom. I don't have the pedigree like some other coaches have, that were former players or big-college, name coaches. I feel that I've worked my way up and had a lot to overcome. I think that's helped motivate me. That's been a chip on my shoulder. Whether it's real or perceived, I've always been, 'That guy was just a high school coach' or 'That guy was just getting Rex (Ryan's) coffee.' That's what's motivated me, and I think that's a big reason why I'm here today."