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Browns have a window

They might see Crennel

Browns owner Randy Lerner and president John Collins interviewed Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress yesterday in Philadelphia, and Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel could be next on the Cleveland list as it searches for a head coach.

Not that an interview will mean much at this stage. The Browns have yet to hire a general manager, and until that occurs, there will be no coach hired. The Browns are merely taking advantage of this week's window to interview candidates whose teams are in the playoffs.

Ravens director of pro personnel Phil Savage has emerged as the front-runner for the Cleveland GM job, unless there's a way the Browns could get Scott Pioli from the Patriots or Ozzie Newsome from the Ravens.

If Savage were hired, Crennel and Childress would likely be on his list of coaching candidates, as would Baltimore defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and Ravens offensive consultant Jim Fassel. As of yesterday, no other head coaching jobs were available in the NFL.

The Pioli situation still appears complicated; it is unclear whether he needs permission to interview based on the fact that he has some GM duties associated with his job as vice president of player personnel. High-ranking executives -- usually GMs and team presidents -- need permission. Pioli has said he is staying in New England until his contract expires in April 2006.

What is known is that the Krafts and Bill Belichick had a meeting at Patriots headquarters yesterday.

Getaway day
Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of Belichick resigning as head coach of the Jets . . . The Patriots worked out guard Khiawatha Downey from Indiana, Pa. . . . The Patriots still may sign former Ravens quarterback Chris Redman, whom they worked out last week. Redman is coming off a torn labrum, but he threw well for Patriots coaches . . . Patriots fans can contribute to the relief efforts in South Asia through the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation. The Patriots will distribute up to 200 playoff tickets as rewards to the most generous contributors. For each $1,000, the donor will receive a ticket for a seat in the lower bowl for the Jan. 16 game. Contributions must be made before 5 p.m. next Wednesday to qualify for a ticket, but contributions will be accepted though Jan. 30 . . . The Patriots are making a limited number of tickets available for the game through Ticketmaster starting Friday at 10 a.m. (limit two per person). Tickets can be bought on line at or 508-931-2222 or 617-931-2222. Only Visa is accepted.

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