CLEVELAND — For just his second time since being hired as the Cleveland Browns head coach, Kevin Stefanski found himself swarmed by cameras as he held a brief press conference after presenting the honor for Best Professional Athlete at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards on Wednesday night.
Just a few hours later, the 37-year-old Stefanski was likely a little more comfortable as the Browns interviewed a colleague he had spent the previous 13 seasons working alongside.
According to multiple reports -- and essentially confirmed by Stefanski -- Cleveland held a second interview with George Paton for its open general manager position on Wednesday afternoon. Having most spent the past 13 seasons as the Minnesota Vikings assistant general manager, Paton is no stranger to Stefanski, who spent the previous 14 years as an assistant on the Vikings' staff.
“My relationship with him is very similar to my relationship with most all of the people in that building,” Stefanski answered when asked about his time working with Paton. “It’s a great place. I’m going to miss a lot of those people, and I’ve reached out to them and told them that. But definitely a bunch of special people in that building.”
Asked specifically about Paton having been groomed to be a future general manager under, Stefanski said he didn't want to single out any of Cleveland's current candidates at this point in the process.
“I think we’ve brought in some really good candidates," Stefanski said. "I don’t want to single anybody out. I just know that Dee and Jimmy have done their due diligence to make sure that we bring in some really qualified people and again getting to get them in our building and talk to them and understand that shared vision that we all have, I think it’s been a good process.”
In addition to Paton, who reportedly also interviewed in Cleveland last weekend, the Browns have also been linked to Philadelphia Eagles VP of Player Personnel Andrew Berry and New England Patriots scouting director Monti Ossenfort in their ongoing GM search. Cleveland's general manager position came open on Dec. 31, when the team parted ways with John Dorsey.
Despite their GM job having been open for nearly a month now -- and the Senior Bowl currently taking place in Mobile, Alabama -- the Browns don't appear to be in any rush to make a hire. Stefanski confirmed as much while speaking to reporters on Tuesday, stating that the team is "going to make sure we take our time and are methodical about it."
“I don’t think we have a timeline," he said. "I think we’re huddling up and having a lot of good discussions and see where it goes.”