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Billick Dropped From Browns’ Search

January 18, 1999

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Brian Billick apparently said something the Cleveland Browns didn’t like.

In a vaguely worded and surprising statement, Cleveland president Carmen Policy said Monday the Browns no longer were considering Billick, the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator, a candidate to become their head coach.

``After having the opportunity to speak further following yesterday’s NFC championship game, we have come to the realization that we have significant philosophical differences related to the opportunities available in our expansion situation,″ Policy said.

``It is our decision to move forward with our head coaching search without Brian Billick being part of that consideration.″

A Browns spokesman said Policy would not expand on the reasons for his decision until Tuesday.

Billick, whose Vikings lost the NFC title game at home to Atlanta Sunday, was considered the frontrunner for the Browns’ job after an impressive interview with Policy last month.

Billick is one of the NFL’s most coveted assistant coaches after his offense in Minnesota set several league records this season. He was scheduled for an interview with Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell on Tuesday about that team’s coaching vacancy.

Meanwhile, Gary Kubiak, another of the Browns’ coaching candidates, rejected the coaching job at Colorado, and indicated he wouldn’t be leaving the Broncos anytime soon.

So, Policy was planning to interview Oakland defensive coordinator Willie Shaw on Tuesday.

Shaw was not on the team’s initial list of coaching candidates, but got a call after Policy saw him on a videotape sent out by the NFL in an attempt to promote minority coaching candidates.

``I put Willie Shaw’s tape into the machine and I was very impressed,″ Policy said last week. ``When you watch the tape and you hear what the man says, and how he says it. And you understand what he’s done, and how he has done it. He was very impressive.″

Policy, however, still had to ask the Raiders for permission to speak with Shaw.

Policy hopes to make his final decision before the Super Bowl Jan. 31.

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