Originally created 01/20/99

Policy meets with Shaw, says Billick didn't fit



CLEVELAND -- Willie Shaw finally got a chance to tell the Browns his story, then had to listen as Cleveland president Carmen Policy explained Brian Billick's.

Shaw, the defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders, became the latest head coaching candidate to formally interview with Policy for the Browns job Tuesday.

Shaw's meeting came with Policy came one day after Billick was surprisingly dropped as a candidate.

"We felt the fit wasn't right, the chemistry wasn't right," Policy said of Billick, who was named head coach of the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday.

Billick, the former offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, had been considered the frontrunner for the Browns' position after a strong interview with Policy last month.

Following the Vikings' home loss in the NFC championship game on Sunday to Atlanta, Cleveland football operations director Dwight Clark flew to Minnesota to meet with Billick. Policy said Clark wasn't sent to offer Billick a contract, but to continue the "interview process."

Policy said Billick indicated to Clark that he was still interested in pursuing other opportunities, and that was all Policy needed to hear.

"It is our feeling that the first coach of this Cleveland Browns organization should be an individual who feels very passionately about coming to Cleveland," Policy said. "He should feel that this is a unique opportunity, it's not just a job. He should feel that this is the best opportunity.

"Not in terms of money, but in terms of that opportunity to go forward and build and create. If a candidate doesn't have that feeling, I don't think they're going to fit here."

With the expansion draft three weeks away, Policy is running out of time and head coaching candidates.

Billick and Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, who Monday said he was staying with the Broncos, are both off the board. That leaves Shaw, Atlanta offensive line coach Art Shell and Jacksonville offensive coordinator Chris Palmer as the only coaches who have formally met with Policy.

Policy said the Browns won't announce any more coaching interviews but the search could extend into the college ranks.

Shaw, 55, was the first defensive coach to meet with Policy, who said in the past he preferred an "offensive-minded coach."

But Policy changed his mind after seeing Shaw on a videotape distributed by the NFL to help minority coaching candidates get interviews.

Shaw, who has spent 12 years as an NFL assistant, joined the Raiders before the 1998 season and transformed Oakland's defense from one of the league's worst to one of its best.