Here’s a strange story from the “What may well have been?” department: Jim Tressel, the lately departed Ohio State head coach, could have left Ohio State five years ago to coach the Cleveland Browns.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Jim Brown, who was an executive adviser to Browns owner Randy Lerner, contacted an individual close to Tressel to gauge his interest in coaching the Browns in 2006.
Tressel apparently wasn’t interested, and it’s not clear whether or not the Browns were ready to give him the job or just wanted to see if he may be interested, but it’s fascinating to think about what may have been diverse if Tressel had coached the Browns.
Would Tressel have been a successful NFL coach, like Jimmy Johnson? Or would he have failed miserably and speedily gone back to the NCAA with his tail between his legs, like Bobby Petrino?
And would Ohio State be in the exact same mess it’s in now if another man had coached the team the last five years? Or would some other coach have achieved the very same level of on-field success for the Buckeyes, without the off-field scandal?
We’ll never know. And it’s probably secure to say Tressel will never once again have the chance to rebuff an NFL owner’s advances.