The New England Patriots have granted permission to the Cleveland Browns to interview offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for their vacant head coaching position, the NFL Network reported.
The Browns have also asked for permission to interview Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, according to Cleveland.com.
CBSSports.com reported that several other candidates could be on the Browns' radar, including two college coaches — Auburn's Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt's James Franklin. Malzahn has the Tigers in the BCS championship game in his first season as head coach and Franklin has had success at Vandy as well as NFL experience with Green Bay as an assistant.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is a Tennessee booster and has familiarity with both SEC coaches.
The Browns also reportedly sought permission to interview Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who would satisfy the NFL's Rooney Rule.
The 37-year old McDaniels, who has a longstanding relationship with Cleveland general manager Mike Lombardi, grew up rooting for the Browns in his home town of Canton, Ohio.
The Patriots have a bye this week before hosting a divisional playoff game, so McDaniels is available to interview immediately.
"Josh is the best offensive coach I could ever imagine," quarterback Tom Brady told WEEI-FM on Monday. "He's so prepared; he's so confident in what he does. He figures out a way every week to get us in the best position as players to win. I have so much respect for him and what he does for me, what he does for our team. He's just a great coach."
McDaniels was fired as head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2010 after losses in 17 of his final 22 games in Denver.
Former Browns head coaches Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini also had ties with the Patriots under head coach Bill Belichick.
Rob Chudzinski was fired Sunday night by the Browns after just one season as head coach.
"We appreciate Chud's passion for the Browns, and we have great respect for him both personally and professionally," the team said in a statement late Sunday. "We needed to see progress with this football team. We needed to see development and improvement as the season evolved and, unfortunately, we took a concerning step backward in the second half of the year.
"Our fans deserve to see a consistently competitive team. We have high standards, and there's an urgency for success. When we believed we were not positioned to achieve significant progress in 2014, we knew we had to admit that a change was needed, and move forward.
"Browns fans are the most loyal and passionate supporters in the NFL. We're fully committed to bringing them the winning football team they deserve."