Tressel's happy at OSU but wouldn't rule out the NFL
Speculation abounds that he'd consider coaching the Browns someday.
COLUMBUS (AP) -- A rah-rah college coach if there ever was one, Ohio State's Jim Tressel would seem to be an unlikely hire as an NFL coach.
Yet speculation that Tressel might be interested if the pros -- specifically the Cleveland Browns -- were to pursue him has been bandied about since Tressel and the Buckeyes won the 2002 national championship.
Tressel, who has always coached in college, did not directly rule out a jump to the NFL in his weekly news conference dominated by questions about whether he would leave Ohio State, but said, "I've got my hands full doing what I'm doing."
The Browns are 1-5 this season and 7-15 in two years under head coach Romeo Crennel. The Browns have not said they are unhappy with Crennel's performance, but it is clear that fans are discouraged over the team's play since coming back in 1999.
The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer, citing a source close to Ohio State, said in Sunday's editions that the Browns might be the only NFL job that would interest Tressel. Tressel grew up in the area and his father, Lee, was a legendary coach at Baldwin-Wallace College.
Asked if he might be lured to the NFL by money and a long-term contract, Tressel -- who will make about 2.4 million this year in the first year of a new seven-year contract -- said, "I've got money and I've got a contract.
"I fit well in this environment. And I do consider myself a teacher, and I love the collegiate environment. I've been in it virtually my whole life," Tressel said.
He coached Youngstown State to four I-AA national championships before taking over Ohio State when John Cooper was fired after the Buckeyes lost the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, 2001.
"Coach Tressel is a great coach," Ohio State defensive back Antonio Smith said. "He's a great person and he has a lot of dedication and he enjoys what he does. Whatever level he would be in in coaching, I'm sure he would be a great coach."
Tressel, who will be 54 on Dec. 5, is old school in his belief in team building and bonding. Upon taking over the Buckeyes, he required his players to know where all their teammates went to high school and encouraged them to know those schools' fight songs and mascots.
His players, from time to time, roll their eyes at some of his straight-laced ways and the dated coaching aphorisms he tosses their way.
Asked how Tressel might handle headline-grabbing Dallas receiver Terrell Owens, Smith laughed and said, "I'm not quite sure he'd put up with too much of that."